Sunday, April 20, 2008


More coverage of an alternative study of the benefits (or lack thereof) of Santee Cooper's coal plant (from the Columbia Free Times):

Study: Santee Cooper Inflates Plant’s Economic Impact
Opponents to Plant Say Conservation, Green Energy Can Meet Power Needs
by : Eric K. Ward

Santee Cooper has one hell of a fight on its hands in the state-owned utility’s effort to build a coal-fired power plant on the Great Pee Dee River in Florence County.

The latest punch at the plant is a study of its projected economic impact by Moore Data, a number crunching firm in the Charleston area.

The study concludes that a Santee Cooper economic impact review of the proposed plant, conducted by a research team at Francis Marion University in Florence, overstates the benefits of the facility.

The South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, an environmental group that is part of a broad-based coalition fighting the plant, commissioned the Moore Data analysis and released it April 11 in conjunction with the Florence-based Eastern Carolina Community Development Corporation.

“It was important to produce a transparent, publicly available study that communicates what this plant will really mean to the region’s growth,” Moore Data’s Scott Moore, who oversaw the study, says in a summary of its findings. “Because most of the jobs are not local, and most of the investment is flowing out of the state, this project will not have the large economic impact people are looking for in the Pee Dee region.”

Santee Cooper spokeswoman Laura Varn referred questions about the Moore Data analysis to Barry O’Brien, who led the team that performed the Santee Cooper study and is dean of the School of Business at Francis Marion.

Varn said she would contact O’Brien and have him call to respond to the Moore Data report. O’Brien did not call before press time.

The Santee Cooper study says construction of the plant would create nearly $900 million in economic activity for the South Carolina economy and more than 9,300 full-time jobs, including 200 permanent local positions.

The Moore Data analysis says that 70 percent of the cost of the plant would be spent outside of the Pee Dee region and that the local workforce would fill only about 20 percent of the jobs.

The utility aims to build the plant near the small town of Kingsburg and have it operational sometime after 2012. Santee Cooper says the facility is necessary to meet a growing need for electricity in the state.

The opponents counter that the plant is not needed because South Carolina could meet its power needs through conservation and green energy efforts. They further contend that coal is a dirty, dinosaur electricity source that harms public health, fish and wildlife and the environment.

Santee Cooper asserts that the plant would feature the latest environmental control technology available and be one of the cleanest power stations in the country.

No matter which side is right, this fight promises to persist for at least a few years. — EW

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Free Times. What a reputable newspaper. I'm glad Eric could find a spot for this story (and manage to curse too). I mean, there's hardly space between the escort service and strip club ads!