Rebecca Haynes Rebecca Haynes
September 6, 2017
The legislature may not be in session right now, but there’s been a lot of activity lately — especially on the energy front. I wanted to take a quick moment to make sure you were in the loop and up-to-date on what’s going with energy in SC.
Here’s a brief rundown on what’s happened over the past few weeks:
V.C. Summer Nuclear abandonment
Both the State Senate and House are looking into what went wrong in Jenkinsville. So far, two hearings have been held (one in each chamber) on the doomed V.C. Summer nuclear project that has cost South Carolina more than $9 billion.
A secret report released this week shows the project suffered from flawed construction plans, faulty designs, inadequate management of contractors, low worker morale and high turnover. As criticism spreads, Santee Cooper’s chief officer, Lonnie Carter, resigned, while lawmakers continue to dig into the details of the project.
More hearings on the issue were planned for next week, but have been cancelled in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
Keeping offshore drilling out of South Carolina
The federal government is considering opening the Atlantic Ocean to seismic testing and offshore drilling. In the State House, two bills have been filed on the matter: one requiring state agencies to approve the onshore infrastructure needed to support oil and natural gas drilling, and the other blocking them.
Faced with those bills, House officials formed a subcommittee last spring — the Offshore Drilling Ad Hoc Committee.
Last month the Ad Hoc committee heard testimony from the pro-drilling special interests and representatives from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The hearing was billed as a “fact-finding mission” to learn more about the impact of drilling on our state, but only one side of the issue was presented.
CVSC and our partners are working with legislators to make sure the “fact-finding” also include the overwhelming number of independent sources and scientists who will speak to the great harm drilling would cause to our coast and our state as a whole.
We will keep you posted if the subcommittee holds any more hearings or takes any action.
Energy accountability
In the wake of the V.C. Summer nuclear announcement, one thing became clear: there was an egregious lack of accountability.
This project was built to fail because South Carolina set up a system where there was no consequence for failure, mismanagement, or poor decisions. As a result, South Carolina ratepayers are on the hook for billions of dollars worth of reckless decision making.
What’s even worse, our state’s energy future is in peril because we put all of our energy eggs in the nuclear basket.
That’s why we are encouraging our state’s leaders to work together toward a system of accountability that creates a clean energy future.
Moving forward on solar energy
As we prepare for the 2018 legislative session, one of CVSC’s top priorities will be passing legislation to encourage solar market growth in South Carolina. We’ve tried for the past two years to expand upon the landmark legislation passed in 2014 (Act 236), but came up a bit short each time.
So we’re taking it to the streets to help move the needle next year.
Over the past few months, we’ve knocked on thousands of doors and have identified more than 1,000 new solar advocates to help put pressure on lawmakers to do the right thing and help solar energy flourish in the Palmetto State. We expect this campaign will pick up even more in the coming weeks and months.
As the energy debates heat up, we’ll keep you informed of all the happenings and opportunities to take action.

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