State Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell and the members of the State Public Utilities Review Committee traveled to Washington Wednesday to present a report on South Carolina’s energy resources to the members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation. McConnell and the committee chose to withhold the report until after they shared it with their Capitol Hill colleagues.
Senator McConnell says, “We want to give the congressional delegation a portrait of our energy sources and our future needs before they vote on any taxes dealing with CO2. South Carolina uses about 61 percent coal-generated electric power. We have few alternative sources of energy, so if the federal government starts taxing CO2 emissions, with the fact that we use air conditioning and heating electrically here—we have a higher demand for it—it will raise the rates of South Carolina dramatically.” The report (PDF) now released to the public, says—in part—that South Carolina will suffer in Congress uses a “cap and trade system.” Cap and trade limits the amount of carbon emissions allowed for certain large industries, such as electric utilities. They would instead to purchase, or “trade”, allowances for greenhouse gas emissions. The report also says the state’s climate and geography are not well suited for cost efficient solar and wind power generation.
According to Calhoun Representative Harry Ott, one of two Democratic legislators who went to the meeting in Washington, the report is a bi-partisan and community effort, “We tried to hammer out a policy and a direction to take South Carolina that I think will benefit all of the state. You know, we probably will not make anybody very happy, but hopefully, we will cover the real concerns of all the different groups.”