South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) said Nov. 13 that its coal-fired Canadys Station power plant near Walterboro, S.C., stopped generating electricity on Nov. 6.
The plant closing is part of SCE&G’s efforts to reduce emissions, achieve a more balanced generation portfolio and comply with new environmental regulations that will take effect after 2015.
In response to the federal Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, SCE&G announced in 2012 that six of its oldest and smallest coal-fired units, including the three at Canadys, would be taken offline or switched from coal to natural gas. While in operation, Canadys generated approximately 300 MW.
One of Canadys’ units was retired in late 2012. SCE&G originally 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 completely closing down the Canadys plant by the end of 2013.
SCE&G President of Generation and Transmission and Chief Operating Officer Steve Byrne said retiring SCE&G’s older coal generation, along with adding new nuclear generation to its system, will help the company meet stringent environmental regulations and achieve a more balanced generation portfolio.
“Once our new nuclear units are complete, we anticipate our generation capacity will be about 30 percent nuclear, 30 percent natural gas and 30 percent scrubbed coal, with the balance in hydro and some renewable resources,” said Byrne. “With this portfolio, about 60 percent of our annual generation will be non-carbon-emitting. Additionally, we’ll have the flexibility to take advantage of whatever generation option makes economic and environmental sense for our customers at any given point in time.”
Decommissioning of Canadys is expected to take a number of years and will involve demolishing the plant, closing all ash and wastewater treatment ponds, and constructing a permitted dry ash storage facility onsite to store material which exceeds recycling demands. SCE&G will continue to own the site.
SCE&G is a regulated utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 675,000 customers in South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to about 325,000 customers throughout the state.