Santee Cooper to close 6 South Carolina generating units

The four units at Jefferies Generating Station will be shut down. (Staff/File)

Santee Cooper said today it is closing six electric generating units at its two oldest stations, citing the cost of complying with new environmental regulations.

The state-owned utility is closing four units at its Jefferies Generating Station in Moncks Corner. Two are coal-fired and two use oil. The oldest two units date to 1954, and the others came online in 1970.

The closings do not affect Jefferies Hydroelectric Generating Station.

Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper also is permanently closing Grainger Generating Station in Conway, It came online in 1966 and was idled earlier this year as the utility evaluated the effects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new mercury and air toxics standard for air emissions.

The board directed CEO Lonnie Carter to develop and execute plans for an orderly retirement of the units. There is no timetable yet for the closings.

“As we evaluated the anticipated costs of complying with new regulations and the generation resources we anticipate needing, it became clear that the best action for our customers and the state is to authorize the retirement of these units at Jefferies and Grainger,” Santee Cooper Chairman O.L. Thompson said in a statement. “It is not a decision we make lightly. However, it is the most cost-effective move we can make.”

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Santee Cooper expects to relocate affected employees to other positions made available through attrition, so layoffs are not anticipated.

See Saturday’s edition of The Post and Courier for more details.