SCE&G files integrated resource plan in South Carolina

SCANA’s (NYSE:SCG) South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), in its 2016 integrated resource plan (IRP), filed on Feb. 26 with South Carolina state regulators, discussed regional milestones with respect to FERC Order 1000, including that FERC last August accepted the company’s regional filing and that SCE&G is currently implementing the required practices and procedures.

Of interregional milestones, SCE&G noted that it worked with its neighboring planning region – Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning, or SERTP – to develop actions to achieve compliance with the interregional requirements of Order 1000. SCE&G said that FERC last July accepted the company’s interregional filing and SCE&G is implementing the required practices and procedures.   

The objective of the IRP – which looks at meeting the energy needs of SCE&G’s customers from 2016 through 2030 – is to develop a resource plan that will provide reliable and economically priced energy to its customers while complying with all environmental laws and regulations, the company said.

To ensure the reliability of the SCE&G transmission system while considering conditions on other systems and to assess the reliability of the integrated transmission grid, the company said that it participates in assessment studies with neighboring transmission planners in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. The company also, on a periodic and ongoing basis, participates with other transmission planners throughout the Southeast to assess the reliability of the southeastern integrated transmission grid for the long-term horizon – up to 10 years – and for upcoming seasonal – summer and winter – system conditions. SCE&G added that joint studies with neighboring transmission owners completed over the past year include the SERC Reliability Corporation (SERC) Near Term Study Group (NTSG) Reliability 2015 Summer Study, as well as the SERC NTSG Reliability 2015/2016 Winter Study.

Discussing the demand and energy forecast for the 15-year period ending 2030, SCE&G said that total territorial energy sales on its system are expected to grow at an average rate of 1.3% per year over the next 15 years, while firm territorial summer peak demand and winter peak demand will increase at 1.7% and 1.2% per year, respectively, over that forecast horizon.

SCE&G said that it anticipates that its energy efficiency programs will reduce retail sales in 2016 by 71,307 MWh, or about 71 GWh, adding that retail sales after that energy efficiency impact are expected to be 22,166 GWh. Therefore, the energy efficiency programs are expected to reduce retail sales by about 0.32% from what they would have been, the company said.

SCE&G’s energy efficiency programs and demand response programs will reduce the need for additional generating capacity on the system, the company said, noting that the energy efficiency programs implemented by its customers should lower not only their overall energy needs, but also their power needs during peak periods. The demand response programs serve more directly as a substitute for peaking capacity, the company said, adding that it has two demand response programs: an interruptible program for large customers and a standby generator program. Those programs represent more than 250 MW on SCE&G’s system.

Solar, wind, battery storage

SCE&G also said that it began actively signing up customers for rooftop solar systems last year, noting that under one arrangement, net metering, solar generation offsets consumption by the customer, so it acts as a reduction to sales. That is different than a buy-all, sell-all configuration, in which all of the customer’s solar generation enters the grid and is metered and paid for separately from consumption, the company said. Under the buy-all, sell-all arrangement, there is no impact upon the company’s sales, unlike net metering, which is a direct reduction in consumption. Therefore, the company added, the only solar impacts considered in its territorial load projection are those attributable to a net metering arrangement.

The company also discussed demand side management programs, noting that in 2015, the demand side management portfolio of programs included seven programs targeting its residential customer classes and two programs targeting commercial and industrial customer classes. Those programs include the Residential Home Energy Reports, which provides customers with monthly/bi-monthly reports comparing their energy usage to a peer group and providing information to help identify, analyze and act upon potential energy efficiency measures and behaviors, and the Small Business Energy Solutions Program, which is a turnkey program, tailored to help owners of small businesses manage energy costs by providing incentives for energy efficiency lighting, electric water heaters and refrigeration upgrades.

SCE&G also said that it is committed to generating more of its power from clean energy sources, noting that it currently generates clean energy from hydro, nuclear, solar and biomass sources. The company said that while it currently produces about 25% of its total generation from clean energy sources, by 2021, it expects to generate about 60% from clean energy.

SCE&G said that it currently has about 6 MW of solar generation on the system, and that as part of its new distributed energy resource programs that were approved by the state Public Service Commission (PSC) last July, the company plans to add up to 100 MW of renewable energy to its system by 2021.

SCANA/SCE&G is a founding member of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition and participates in the Utility Advisory Group of that organization, the company added. SCANA/SCE&G participated in discussions to locate a 40 MW demonstration wind farm off the coast of Georgetown, the company said, noting that that effort, known as Palmetto Wind, has been put on hold due to the project’s high cost.

The company further noted that it currently has about 9,600 advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters that are installed predominantly on its medium to large commercial customers as well as its smaller industrial customers.

Additionally, SCE&G discussed battery storage, noting that battery storage systems are likely to play a significant role in the future, both on the grid and in the home. The cost of battery storage has been decreasing consistently over the last several years and the technology continues to improve, the company said, adding that it will continue to monitor developments in battery storage technologies and their cost, as well as look for ways to improve the economics and reliability of service to its customers.

Nuclear, coal matters

On nuclear power, SCE&G noted that Unit 1 at the Summer nuclear station produced 4,744 GWh in 2015, or 20% of the company’s customers’ need. Through August 2042, Unit 1 should produce another 134,665 GWh for SCE&G.

Of new nuclear capacity, SCE&G noted that in May 2008, it filed with the PSC a combined application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity and for a base load review order for the construction and operation of two 1,117 net MW nuclear units to be located at the V.C. Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville, S.C. The PSC granted the certificate and in March 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a combined construction and operation license to SCE&G for each unit. In January 2014, the company said that it and Santee Cooper agreed to increase SCE&G’s ownership share from 55% to 60% in three stages.

Among other things, SCE&G said that last October, it and Westinghouse agreed to amend the engineering, procurement and construction agreement, clearing substantially all existing disputes among parties to the project and providing better protection against future cost increases for SCE&G’s customers. The amended agreement revises the guaranteed substantial completion dates for Units 2 and 3 to Aug. 31, 2019, and 2020, respectively. SCE&G added that by the end of 2021, it expects to own 60% of both units – about 670 MW each – while Santee Cooper will own 40%.

Of environmental regulations, the company noted that the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan pending disposition of a petition of review of the rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

While the Supreme Court order has no immediate impact on SCE&G and GENCO or their generation operations, SCE&G said that it is generally expected that the stay will delay the implementation dates of the rule on a day for day basis as it has done during litigation of other environmental rules.

GENCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of SCANA and is operated by SCE&G.

Of the retirement of coal plants, the company noted that when the EPA promulgated its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) in December 2011, SCE&G had six small coal-fired units in its fleet totaling 730 MW and ranging in age from 45 to 57 years that could not meet the emission standards without further modifications to the units.

The company decided that those six units would be retired when the addition of new nuclear capacity was available as a replacement. The company added that it has retired Canadys’ Units #1, 2 and 3, and has converted Urquhart Unit 3 to be fired with natural gas while dismantling the coal handling facilities at that unit. The capacity – 250 MW – of the remaining two coal-fired units, McMeekin Units 1 and 2, is required to maintain system reliability until the new nuclear capacity is available.

SCE&G added that it expects to bridge the gap between the MATS compliance date and the availability of the new nuclear capacity by firing McMeekin Units 1 and 2 on natural gas and purchasing the balance of needed capacity. Those units have been running well on natural gas primarily during the last several months, confirming that that option will definitely work, the company said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3293 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.