South Carolina Electric advances shutdown of two Canadys coal units

South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) said June 4 that it will accelerate its plans, to the end of this year, to retire two coal-fired units at its Canadys Station power plant near Walterboro, S.C. 

In 2012, in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, SCE&G identified six coal-fired units, including the three at Canadys, that would be taken offline or switched from coal to using natural gas as a part of an integrated resource plan filed with the South Carolina Public Service Commission. The six units total 730 MW of generating capacity. Ranging in age from 45 to 57 years, they are SCE&G’s oldest and smallest coal-fired units.

One of three coal-fired units at the Canadys plant was retired in late 2012. SCE&G, a unit of SCANA (NYSE: SCG), had planned to convert the remaining two to natural gas-fired units as an interim measure before retiring them completely in 2017. However, after reevaluating system needs and analyzing the economics, the company decided to proceed with retiring the units by the end of this year.

SCE&G President of Generation and Transmission and Chief Operating Officer Steve Byrne said retiring the older coal units will help the company meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations and achieve a more balanced generation portfolio. “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,” he said.

SCE&G has the six small coal-fired units in its fleet totaling 730 MW that range in age from 45 to 57 years old that cannot meet the emission standards set by MATS without further modifications to the units. Those units, as identified in the Feb. 28 IRP filed with South Carolina, are:

  • Canadys Unit 1, 90 MW, went commercial in 1962;
  • Canadys Unit 2, 115 MW, commercial in 1964;
  • Canadys Unit 3, 180 MW, commercial in 1967;
  • Urquhart Unit 3, 95 MW, commercial in 1955;
  • McMeekin Unit 1, 125 MW, commercial in 1958; and
  • McMeekin Unit 2, 125 MW, commercial in 1958.

In announcing its plans to retire the units in its 2012 IRP, the company was careful to note that its retirement plans were subject to change if circumstances changed. The company has already retired Canadys Unit 1 and has converted Urquhart Unit 3 to be fired with natural gas while dismantling the coal handling facilities at this unit.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.