Stacks torn down at Santee Cooper’s Grainger coal plant

Santee Cooper tore down the Grainger coal plant’s two, 300-foot stacks at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7, the company said in a news release.

The stacks are the final significant structures to be removed in the ongoing dismantling of the station and a significant symbol of Santee Cooper’s increasing reliance on emissions-free and renewable generation, the utility said.

 The stacks had been a landmark in the Conway, S.C., area for 50 years.

The stacks were toppled with a series of small, controlled explosions that weakened them at the base, allowing for a controlled fall. The event was conducted by Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI), a Maryland firm with more than 60 years’ experience in demolition. Grainger’s buildings and coal conveying equipment had already been dismantled by National Salvage and Service Corp.

Grainger might be best known for helping electrify rural South Carolina and for being instrumental in bringing Santee Cooper’s electric system back online after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, said the state-owned utility.

Santee Cooper operated Grainger Generating Station from 1966 to 2012, when the coal-fired station was retired. Prior to its retirement, the plant ran two 82-MW steam turbines, according to GenerationHub data.

Santee Cooper has set a goal to meet 40% of its customers’ energy needs by 2020 with non-greenhouse emitting resources, renewable resources, conservation and energy efficiency.

Santee Cooper is a minority partner with SCANA (NYSE:SCG) in the construction of V.C. Summer nuclear Units 2 and 3.

Once the rubble from the Grainger stacks has been removed and the demolition completed, the ground will be layered with soil, graded and covered with grass. The future of the site has not been determined, and Santee Cooper intends to work with the city of Conway to repurpose it for economic benefit. Ash recycling at Grainger’s two ash ponds will continue, the utility said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at