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South Carolina power providers join forces to push solar effort

Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative announced they will not do member disconnections and will waive late fees during COVID-19. (MGN)
Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative announced they will not do member disconnections and will waive late fees during COVID-19. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 12:41 PM EDT
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Monday, June 8, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) — Utility customers in South Carolina will soon be getting more of their electricity from solar sources.

Central Electric Power Cooperative — the wholesale power aggregator for the state’s cooperatives — and Santee Cooper — one of Central’s suppliers — joined forces in seeking proposals from developers that could produce as much as 500 megawatts of new solar-generated electricity.

Santee Cooper is leading the joint effort, sending a request for proposals to nearly 30 solar developers.

Santee Cooper and Central will work together to review bids and award contracts, and Central may choose to become a counterparty to one or more purchase agreements through this process.

Contracts will target power projects of 25-125 megawatts each, with the developers owning the projects and Santee Cooper and Central purchasing the electric output.

“Cooperative consumers like sustainable energy sources such as solar,” said Central CEO Rob Hochstetler said in a statement, “but they also want us to keep the cost of power competitive in the communities our member-cooperatives serve.”

Utility-scale solar costs are declining as technology improves, and both utilities expect a joint RFP to benefit consumers through a more competitive process, even if the two organizations choose to contract independently.

Developer bids are due July 30.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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