Power Agreement Means a Greener South Carolina

Columbia, S.C. – An agreement between two South Carolina power providers and advocates for clean energy means the Palmetto State will continue moving toward a future where more electricity is generated from greener, renewable sources.

Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas have agreed to pay renewable-energy producers set rates for the electricity the producers generate and then sell to the utilities. That allows the utilities to buy and burn less fossil fuel, and also promotes cleaner power sources by financially encouraging these smaller alternative-energy companies.

Customers will fare better because the utilities can pass on benefits of using cost-effective renewable energy.

“These new rates make it more likely in the coming years that South Carolina will generate more power from cleaner, renewable sources,” said Blan Holman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “In the long run this will help reduce utilities’ dependency on fossil fuels.”

The negotiated rates apply to companies producing 2 megawatts or less of clean energy, generally solar power. A megawatt can power 160 homes, according to industry estimates. The agreement lasts 10 years.

The negotiations involved SELC representing the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas; and the Office of Regulatory Staff. The State’s Public Service Commission approved the rates on May 4, 2016.

“South Carolina should be a regional leader in solar energy,” said Hamilton Davis of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. “These new rates will encourage that, and move us another step closer to protecting the beauty and the future of South Carolina.”

A recent Solar Foundation report showed South Carolina’s sunny weather means the state ranks highest in the region for its solar energy potential, and expects the Palmetto State to see a boom in solar generation and solar jobs.

“The parties’ resolution and new Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas rates move us closer to fulfilling that clean-energy potential,” said Taylor Allred of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

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