South Carolina Electric and Gas Company is accelerating its plans to permanently close one of its oldest coal powered generating plants in the state.
The Canadys Station in Colleton County is one of SCE&G’s smallest coal fired generating stations. It has two coal-fired units that range in age from 43 to 57 years old. A third unit was shut down last year.
The utility had planned to convert two units to natural gas before closing the station for good in 2017 as it phases out its oldest coal plants. But, after reevaluating its power needs and analyzing the economics, the company says it decided to proceed with outright retirement by the end of this year. 70 employees work at the plant.
SCE&G previously said it will eventually retire a total of six coal units around the state to comply new federal mercury emissions standards. “By the end of 2018, we anticipate that roughly one-third of our electric generation will be fueled by nuclear power, one-third by natural gas, and one-third by scrubbed coal-fired plants,” President of Generation and Transmission and Chief Operating Officer Steve Byrne said in a statement.
Last year, Lowcountry environmental and citizens groups complained about the amount of coal ash SCE&G stores near the plant’s location on the Edisto River. However, the utility and environmental groups have reached a storage solution. A spokesman said SCE&G will continue to place the toxic material in permanent dry storage on-site.