Santee Cooper is plugging some money into the State Ports Authority’s expansion in the Upstate.
The board of the Moncks Corner-based utility approved a $3.5 million loan Monday to the city of Greer and the Greer Commission of Public Works to build a new substation near the SPA’s “inland port” property.
The site is off U.S. Interstate 85 and is served by Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, which will begin buying electricity from state-owned Santee Cooper next year.
The new power station also would serve future businesses that locate in and around the SPA’s Spartanburg County property,
The maritime agency broke ground this year on its $50 million Upstate hub, where shipping containers will be transferred between trucks and Norfolk Southern trains running to and from the Port of Charleston starting this fall.
One goal is to provide a link between the local waterfront and port users along the bustling I-85 business corridor, such as the nearby BMW car manufacturing plant. The site also is close to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, where FedEx and UPS have large air freight operations.
Lonnie Carter, CEO of Santee Cooper, said the 10-year loan will help the inland port will attract jobs, boost demand for power and take some trucks off of Lowcountry highways.
“This is a triple win for us,” Carter said.
The substation deal was one of three loans totaling $7.5 million that Santee Cooper approved Monday for projects in areas it provides power to, either directly or through wholesale cooperatives.
The other $4 million will go toward a pair of speculative industrial buildings that local government agencies are planning for Anderson and Dillon counties to help attract new businesses.
The state-owned utility began providing low-cost financing to qualified borrowers about 14 months ago under its infrastructure development program. To date, the loans total $15.5 million.
Also at today’s meeting, the board unanimously authorized Santee Cooper’s record $1.34 billion bond sale. Most of the proceeds from the recent debt offering will be used to refinance old debt. The rest will help pay for construction projects, including the expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.