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Energy crisis in Texas. Could this happen in South Carolina?

The energy supply crisis that recently occurred in Texas due to extremely cold temperatures and high demand has brought question concerning the energy supply in South Carolina.  Could the same thing happen in our state?  Probably not. And here’s why.

Texas relies heavily on natural gas for generation and those resources were restricted during the extreme cold. They also rely on wind power for a portion of their supply and those were also affected by the cold temperatures. South Carolina relies less on natural gas and has excess supply that is not fueled by gas.

The South Carolina cooperatives have more than 5,500 MW of capacity standing by for emergencies.  To give this perspective, 1 MW can supply power for 650 homes and the 5,500 MW is reserve capacity.

South Carolina also benefits from collaboration and cooperation with other utilities.  We are part of the Virginia/Carolina region of the South Eastern Reliability Council (SERC).  While each member is independent, they act harmoniously in the operation of the Bulk Electric System (BES).  The BES is vastly interconnected with over 70 points of interconnection between the members. 

The major threat to ensuring reliable power in South Carolina is the loss of transmission and distribution lines “the wires” due to severe storms.   When this happens, the electric cooperative work together and share crews from across the region.  Fairfield Electric most recently sent crews to Southside Electric Cooperative in Virginia.  

The relationships and agreements South Carolina utilities have with one another and utilities from other states in our region have placed us in a much better position than Texas.

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