SCE&G proposes gas, solar for Summer replacement

17 November 2017

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) has unveiled a proposal that would see some of the capacity that should have been provided by the VC Summer nuclear power plant project replaced with gas and solar generation. The company's shareholders would absorb the net construction costs of the abandoned nuclear project.

Summer unit 2, pictured in June 2017 (Image: SCE&G)

The proposal issued yesterday by the Scana Corporation subsidiary provides about $4.8 billion in benefits to SCE&G customers, and will require approval from South Carolina's Public Service Commission (PSC).

SCE&G proposes acquiring a 540 MWe gas-fired power plant to replace "more than" 40% of the power that was projected to be provided from the two-unit Summer plant. The $180 million purchase price of the gas-fired plant will be borne by Scana shareholders, who will also forego any shareholder return over the life of the plant. The company said it will also add about 100 MWe of large-scale solar capacity to its system.

Electric rates for SCE&G's customers - commercial, industrial and residential - will roll back to where they would have been in March 2015, which represents a reduction of about 3.5%. Scana shareholders will absorb the net nuclear construction costs through lower earnings over 50 years, which the company says will account for about $2.9 billion of the total $4.8 billion.

SCE&G owns 55% of the Summer project, with the remainder owned by Santee Cooper.

"We've heard our customers' frustrations about paying for a power plant and having nothing to show for it. This proposal gives customers additional power generation while also lowering rates for customers," said SCE&G President of Retail Operations Keller Kissam said.

Kissam is to become the company's president and chief operating officer from 1 January 2018.

Scana Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Addison said the company hoped "interested parties" would endorse the proposal so that it could obtain PSC approval. "Current projections indicate that if this proposal is adopted, we would not need an additional generation source for several years. This is a key step to meeting South Carolina's robust economic growth," he said.

SCE&G on 31 July announced its decision to cease construction of the two 1200 MWe Westinghouse-designed units at VC Summer. Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, and SCE&G's announcement followed co-owner Santee Cooper's decision to suspend construction because of projected completion delays and cost overruns.

A total of four AP1000 units - two each at VC Summer in South Carolina and Vogtle in Georgia - were under construction in the USA prior to Westinghouse's bankruptcy filing. Construction began on Summer unit 2 and Vogtle unit 3 in March 2013, with work beginning on Summer 3 and Vogtle 4 in November of that year. Vogtle's co-owners, led by Georgia Power, in August filed a recommendation with the Georgia Public Service Commission to complete construction of the new units as the most economic choice for customers. Bechtel is now managing daily construction efforts at the Vogtle site under the direction of Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News