Santee Cooper adds more solar energy to generation mix (copy)

In November, the Public Service Commission ruled that Dominion Energy and Duke Energy are required to pay only 2 cents and 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, respectively, for electricity produced by our solar companies.

With the recent, unanimous passage of pro-competition legislation (the Energy Freedom Act), the future of South Carolina’s electricity customers was looking bright.

Unfortunately, that good news was overshadowed by a stunningly shortsighted vote by the Public Service Commission to price clean energy out of the market. Because of this decision, South Carolina might not see a single solar contract signed for the next two years, and many existing solar startup projects could be canceled, leaving South Carolina lagging in the solar energy boom boosting the economies of Georgia and North Carolina.

The facts and math are clear: Solar power is now the least expensive power available in South Carolina. Solar is much cheaper and environmentally responsible to build and operate, and comes without pollution-related health issues or unwanted byproducts like spent nuclear fuel or coal ash.

We must demand lower-cost energy competition from solar — large-scale farms or solar panels on roofs — enabled by fair pricing and without barriers imposed by utility monopolies to protect their market share.

With decisions like the one made by the PSC, it is clear that our Legislature’s job is not over. We urge the General Assembly to finish the job it started earlier this year and select thoughtful, qualified candidates to serve on the PSC to ensure that the Energy Freedom Act is implemented in a way that benefits ratepayers, not utility monopolies.

MICHAEL BOGLE

Brisbane Drive

Beaufort

Navy hospital

I was beyond excited when I read that the old Navy hospital might become apartments.

I’ve been advocating this for years and am glad someone feels the same way.

It is a crime that it has taken so long to revitalize this 10-story building and 23 acres of property. But how wonderful that it is being done.

I hope William Cogswell and WECCO Development can put it together. My best wishes to them.

C.T. LELAND

Coming Street

Charleston

Lower drug costs

Lou Kennedy’s Dec. 11 Post and Courier commentary on Nancy Pelosi’s plan to lower drug costs made me angry. There were a number of critical omissions.

Americans pay far and away the highest drug prices of any country in the world. A bottle of insulin costs $15 in Mexico and $600 in the United States. Same drug, different market. Medicare cannot negotiate the price of drugs. Drug price increases have wildly exceeded inflation every year.

Commentary: Pelosi’s plan to lower drug costs puts innovation and jobs at risk

In the meantime, many pharmaceutical companies make record profits and pay their executives seven- and eight-figure salaries. They also spend huge sums on lobbyists in Washington. Millions more are paid to shareholders in the form of dividends. This is what we are subsidizing with high drug costs, not the myth repeated by Ms. Kennedy that high drug costs are necessary for research.

Americans deserve affordable health care and that includes prescription prices that bear some relation to their cost and what is charged in other countries. Research will continue because of the profit motive. No other industry is subsidized on the backs of poor and middle-income people.

Pelosi’s bill would put an end to Big Pharma’s abuse and create a reasonable and fair cost system for prescription drugs. If lower pricing works in the rest of the world, it can work here too.

RANDY HENRICK

Fish Creek Court

Summerville

Hold stormwater

I was excited to read the Dec. 3 Post and Courier article relating to the stormwater system designed by T.Y. Lin International.

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Working with the Charleston Housing Authority and the city, we were able to obtain approval for a design that provides much-needed stormwater detention under parking areas, which are also designed to withstand heavy loads such as a firetruck.

Affordable housing in Charleston's East Side includes underground storage for stormwater

The system is unique in that the open-bottom concrete collection chambers are shallow. The shallow concrete reinforcement system allows it to be installed above the water table, maximizing the retention area.

The system not only has the ability to collect water from paved surfaces and grassy areas but from gutter downspouts. The system has the ability to provide seepage and infiltration to the groundwater table by having an open bottom chamber.

During heavy rain, stormwater is detained and released at a slow rate to prevent flooding the city’s stormwater system.

It is my opinion that the city should continue to explore similar locations on the peninsula, such as parks and open parking structures, to install such systems.

Preventing stormwater flow from areas not prone to flooding to lower elevations or areas influenced by tidal flooding would help reduce overall flooding on the peninsula.

Kudos to the Housing Authority for being innovative with this design and providing the funding to implement it.

RICHARD GARCIA

Senior Vice President

T.Y. Lin International

Leeds Avenue

North Charleston