I read with interest that South Carolina will soon be exporting 350,00 tons of switchgrass to Europe to fuel power plants there, as they move away from coal.
With the recent downturn in energy usage across our state, and with lower projected energy use into the future coupled with technological breakthroughs in alternative fuels, it is time to abandon SC&G’s plan for a new nuclear plant and Santee-Cooper’s plan for a new coal plant. An energy independent South Carolina is a strong South Carolina and concentrating our efforts in the following areas is what will make this happen.
1. Switchgrass fueled electrical plants. Switchgrass is native to our state and is found here in abundance. The farming of switchgrass in our state is already moving forward, and we need to take advantage of this right now.
2. The development of a wind farm in the far upstate, where we have world class energy producing wind. Also offshore wind should be put to the front burner and invested in heavily.
3. We should be doing everything we can to develop our own solar industries here in the Palmetto State. It is expensive, but recent breakthroughs in the technology should make solar power a major factor in South Carolina’s push towards energy independence.
4. Conservation. One initiative that would have a major impact is the regular publication of our energy usage as a whole- How much gasoline we use in a quarter, as well as electricity, water and natural gas, if published and promoted, would give us solid numbers to rally around and make us more aware, and more willing to work harder to use less energy.
Again, we should be concentrating on energy sources and strategies that will make us energy independent as soon as possible. It is absolutely critical that we do so without delay.