Coal powered the past and now makes way for the future. Santee Cooper should get ahead of the trend.

Mines are closing, mining companies going under, and coal generation plants have been closing in the Carolinas and throughout the country. That gives Santee Cooper’s announcement about closing coal plants some context.

Utilities are facing the inevitable. The question now is one of timing.

Scientific American: “Coal generation has continued to plummet in 2019. Electricity generation from coal fell 8% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same time last year, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The black rock represented just 26% of U.S. electricity production in the first three months of the year.”

Santee Cooper’s business forecast approved by its board and unveiled recently put its stake in the ground: “Reduce Santee Cooper’s reliance on coal from 52% to 30% of total energy needed for customers, a reduction of approximately 42%.”  Target year – 2033.

Moody’s Investor Services says that by 2030 coal could be only creating 11% of electricity in the U.S. (Source)

The Santee Cooper plan wants to get to 30% by 2033 when the nation is at 26% now and could be at 11% by 2030.

Does that demonstrate the environmental leadership that is needed for Santee Cooper? There may be catch-up needed just to get to where others already are.

There’s more. Think of the old show biz line, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Brooking Institute wrote: “U.S. coal-fired generators also face significant downside risk from the possibility of future policy changes toward more aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation.”

Now – shifting regulations, shifting public sentiment, maybe shifting politics. All will play into the strategies to address coal generation. That is not new. It has been predictable. Something that could be exhibited in a plan for the next 12 years.

An aggressive business plan does not get customers to a subpar level of the competition.