COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s ideal energy policy requires legislative support for higher education, money for upgrades to mobile homes and new water efficiency standards, among other measures discussed today by a panel of environmentalists and business leaders.

Suzanne Watson, policy director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, said the state needs a comprehensive energy policy because it will create a level playing field for businesses and provide certainty into the future. South Carolina should invest in its higher education institutions, including technical colleges, to develop research and a base of expertise in new graduates, Watson said. Likewise, she said it’s key for the state’s future to institute policies for water usage as well help cut energy use by improving conditions in mobile homes.

Watson was one of three panelists at the breakfast roundtable that was sponsored by the S.C. Businesses for Clean Energy, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and others.

Hamilton Davis, energy and climate director for the Coastal Conservation League, said such discussions are a microcosm of the same discussions being held throughout the country and on the federal level. Talking about South Carolina’s future energy needs puts elected officials and business leaders on notice, he said.

“It gives us a vision to create a road map,” Davis said.

The next step is for the Legislature to adopt a comprehensive energy portfolio, something the Coastal Conservation League, among others, will be working toward in the next year.

Read more in Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.