South Carolina is home to four nuclear power plants, which provide more than half of the state's electricity. The Oconee Nuclear Station on Lake Keowee is the third largest power plant in the United States in terms of annual generation (as of April 2017). This plant has a generating capacity of approximately 2.6 million kilowatts — enough to power 1.9 million homes. Since 2008, South Carolina has been transitioning rapidly from coal to natural gas. In 2016, coal provided about one-fifth of South Carolina's electricity, while natural gas provided about one-sixth.
Hydroelectric and biomass are South Carolina's primary renewable energy sources. The dozens of hydroelectric power plants in South Carolina contribute about 2.5% of the state's electricity production. About two-thirds of South Carolina is forested, and the wood waste from the related industries provides plenty of fuel for biomass plants. South Carolina also has about 20 plants that convert methane gas from landfills into electricity.
South Carolina Electricity Prices
South Carolina has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for South Carolina residents in December 2016 was 12.02¢ per kWh, while the average U.S. electricity price was 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are on the rise in South Carolina, having increased more than 37% over the past 10 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for South Carolina residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
South Carolina Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2008-2016, natural gas went from about 6% to 17% of total electricity production in South Carolina. Over the same period, coal's share of total electricity production dropped from about 41% to 21%.
South Carolina Energy Sector Employment
According to the 2016 South Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census, there are over 18,000 full-time employees working for clean energy firms in South Carolina. About 55% of these employees work on building efficiency. Biomass creates the second most jobs, making up 18% of all clean energy jobs in South Carolina. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal are also big job creators in South Carolina, making up a combined 18% of the state's clean energy jobs.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
South Carolina Utility Companies
Some of the largest electric utilities in South Carolina are Duke Energy, South Carolina Electric & Gas, and Santee Cooper. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
- Serves approximately 740,000 South Carolina electric customers
- Headquartered in Charlotte, NC
- Founded in 1904
South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G)
- Serves approximately 664,000 South Carolina electric customers
- Headquartered in Cayce, SC
- Subsidiary of SCANA Corporation
- Serves over 165,000 South Carolina electric customers
- Headquartered in Moncks Corner, SC
- South Carolina's only publicly owned electric and water utility
Arcadia's South Carolina Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to South Carolina residents:
As a South Carolina utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in South Carolina. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables South Carolina utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.