South Carolina Electricity and Gas (SCE&G) is to increase its ownership of two nuclear units under construction at VC Summer in South Carolina. Duke Energy has said that it is no longer looking to acquire a stake in the project.
|Pouring of VC Summer 3's concrete basemat was completed in November 2013
Scana Corporation subsidiary SCE&G has agreed to acquire a 5% ownership interest in the two units from state-owned utility Santee Cooper. This will see SCE&G's share increase to 60%. Santee Cooper's ownership will fall from its current 45% to 40%.
The acquisition will take place in three stages, with the first transfer of 1% taking place on the start of commercial operation of the first unit, anticipated in late 2017 or early 2018. Two further transfers of 2% will be completed within the first two years of commercial operation. The purchase price is expected to be approximately $500 million based on current project costs.
Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals, Santee Cooper has promised not to transfer any of its remaining interest in the new units until both have been completed.
The VC Summer site, in Jenkinsville, South Carolina, is already home to a single-unit pressurised water reactor operated by SCE&G and co-owned by SCE&G and Santee Cooper. Construction of units 2 and 3 - both Westinghouse AP1000s - began in 2013.
Scana chairman and CEO Kevin Marsh said that the 110 MWe added to its portfolio through the purchase would help to replace a portion of 345 MWe of coal-fired capacity that it expects to retire over the next five years, and delay the need for the company to build new gas-fired capacity after 2020. The company expects to pay for its additional 5% share using internal funding, without the need for external financing.
Santee Cooper has been looking to reduce its ownership level in the new Summer units since 2011. In July of that year, the company signed a letter of intent on a possible sale of 5%-10% stake of the capacity and output from the new units with Duke Energy. Duke has now formally notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it is "no longer engaged" in those discussions.
Within the past year Duke has suspended two nuclear new-build projects of its own, dropping plans for two new reactors at a greenfield site at Levy in Florida in August 2013 and withdrawing an application for two new AP1000s at its Shearon Harris site in North Carolina in May.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News