Green/Alternative energy in South Carolina

In South Carolina, 1.6% of all the electricity we generate comes from renewable resources. Those renewable resources are wood, black liquor, other wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas, sludge waste, tires, agriculture byproducts, other biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, photovoltaic energy (solar) and wind. If you add hydropower, the total becomes 3.4%.

Here are some powerful facts:

  • Utilities in South Carolina have been using hydropower to generate electricity since 1942
  • Santee Cooper uses landfill methane gas to produce electricity at four facilities and a fifth is currently in the permitting process
  • Efforts are underway to reduce our reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels and increase our use of renewable sources to generate electricity
  • Biomass, off-shore wind power and landfill gas are now under study to determine if they can be economically viable for South Carolina

These maps show the best and worst areas for the production of electricity using renewable resources:

Wind Power:

This map below estimates the annual average wind power at 164 feet above ground. As you can see, South Carolina has no land-based opportunities for utilities to take advantage of wind power generation. However, research is underway to explore offshore options for wind-powered electricity generation.

Wind Power US

Solar Power:

Solar resource for a concentrating collectorWhat do the maps mean? For flat solar panels, South Carolina has good, useful resources on a small scale. For concentrating collectors (solar collectors that use reflective surfaces to concentrate sunlight on a small area), it may be beneficial for SC to pursue some types of technologies, but large-scale electricity producing systems are not effective with this resource.

These links will shine the light on what is being done to increase our use of renewable energies: