Santee Cooper, Central Look To Add Up To 500 MW of Utility-Scale Solar

June 11, 2020

by Taelor Bentley
Posted June 11, 2020

Santee Cooper and Central Electric Power Cooperative have begun a bid process seeking to purchase up to 500 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar power through several projects to be built across South Carolina.

Santee Cooper, the state-owned public power utility in South Carolina, has sent a request for proposals (RFP) to nearly 30 solar developers. Santee Cooper will work with Central to review the bids and awards contracts. Central may choose to become a counterparty to one or more purchase agreements through this process. Contracts will target power projects of 25-125 MW each. The developers will own the projects, while Santee Cooper and Central will purchase the electric output.

“This RFP signals Santee Cooper’s commitment to Central, and to all Santee Cooper customers, to transform our generation into a leaner, greener portfolio that increases sustainability and costs less,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Mark Bonsall. “This is a market-driven process designed to produce the best prices and best benefits for our customers, and to do so in a manner that is open and transparent.” Central is Santee Cooper’s largest customer.

The process will be conducted in accordance with terms approved by the South Carolina General Assembly governing Santee Cooper through May 2021. The process includes an ongoing question-and-answer period through July 13, and bids are due July 30. Santee Cooper and Central will review the bids with a goal to finish negotiations with developers and begin awarding contracts later this year.

The current resource plan for service of Santee Cooper’s customers includes the addition of up to 1,000 MW of new solar capacity placed into service by 2024 and an additional 500 MW added by 2031, all to be purchased from third-party providers and intended in part to replace some existing coal-fired generation.