South Carolina


  • Formerly Under Development:  In 2009, Santee Cooper, Coastal Carolina University, and the South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) kicked off a joint study (Palmetto Wind) on the feasibility of offshore wind energy development through the installation of six floating buoys and two land-based monitoring stations.  Santee Cooper plans to install an offshore platform after sufficient buoy data has been gathered.  The goal of the Palmetto Wind project is to evaluate the feasibility of a 40-80 MW wind farm.
  • Wind Energy Areas: Because of North Carolina's concerns about coastal viewshed and environmental aspects, BOEM moved two proposed WEAs from North Carolina to South Carolina.

Policy, Planning, & Regulations

  • Energy & Climate Change Planning:  In 2008, the South Carolina Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee (CECAC) recommended a voluntary, economy-wide goal to reduce gross greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Siting, Leasing, & Permitting:  The South Carolina Regulatory Task Force for Coastal Clean Energy, established through a 2008 grant to the South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) and other state collaborators by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), identified potential regulatory barriers to offshore wind development.  The Task Force’s recommendations were adopted by a separate legislative Wind Energy Production Farms Feasibility Study Committee.
  • Energy Demand/Incentives:  South Carolina does not have a renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS).  In 2010, the Wind Energy Production Farms Feasibility Study Committee recommended that South Carolina establish an RPS with a target of 40-80 MW of offshore wind energy by 2013, and 1,000 MW by 2018, through the use of either a carve-out or a renewable energy credit multiplier for offshore wind energy. In 2014, South Carolina's legislature authorized the creation of distributed (customer-sited small-scale) energy resource programs by electric utilities and required the Public Service Commission to develop accompanying net metering rules. The legislation's goal is to encourage the development of in-state renewable energy generation capacity by allowing a participating utility to recover costs connected with meeting the utility's renewable generation target. The program has a target of 2% of aggregate generation capacity from renewable resources by 2021.
  • Coastal & Ocean Management Planning:  The South Carolina Ocean Planning Work Group recommended in 2012 the development of a South Carolina Ocean Action Plan to create a long-term vision and framework for competing ocean uses and resource management.
  • Regional Ocean Management Planning:  South Carolina is a member of the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance (GSAA).
  • Regional Electricity Transmission Planning:  South Carolina's electricity transmission is coordinated by South Carolina Regional Transmission Planning (SCRTP), established by the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company and Santee Cooper.  These entities are members of the Southeastern Reliability Corporation (SERC).

Supporting & Complementary Assets/Infrastructure

  • Transmission & Grid Interconnection:  Researchers at the Clemson University Electric Power Research Association (CUEPRA), in collaboration with Santee Cooper, concluded that the South Carolina transmission system could handle the addition of 80 MW of offshore wind by 2014 and 1,080 MW by 2020.
  • R&D/Testing Facilities:  The Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI) and its partners received a $45 million grant in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), combined with $53 million of matching funds, to build and operate a large-scale wind turbine drive train testing facility capable of testing advanced drive train technology in the 5-10 MW range (up to 15 MW).

Economic Fundamentals

  • Population: 5.0 million (1.5% US, 2016)¹
  • Population change (2010-2016): 7.3%²
  • Civilian labor force:  2.3 million (1.5% of US, 2017)¹
  • Median hourly wage (all occupations): $15.45 (2016)³
  • State corporate income tax rate: 5% (2017)⁴
  • Per capita personal income:  $39,465 (45th in US, 2016)¹
  • Residential electricity prices:  12.99 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Commercial electricity prices: 10.21 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Industrial electricity prices:  5.98 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Total energy production: 676 trillion Btu (0.8% of US, 2015)¹
  • Net electricity generation:  7,265 thousand MWh (2.3% of US, 2017)¹
  • Total energy consumption per capita:  337 million Btu (18th in US, 2015)¹
  • Carbon dioxide emissions:  29,849 thousand metric tons (1.5% of US, 2015)¹
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions:  26 thousand metric tons (1.0% of US, 2015)¹
  • Nitrogen dioxide emissions: 18 thousand metric tons (1.0% of US, 2015)¹
  • Total estimated technical offshore wind potential generation:  612,639 GWh/yr (8.5% of US, 2016)⁵

References:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA)¹; U.S. Census Bureau²; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)³; Tax Foundation; and, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)