Our 2023 Annual Report is now available! Click the button below to review our new projects and programs from the past year. Printed copies of the report will be available at our 63rd Annual Meeting, which kicks off today in Greenville, South Carolina! You can request a printed copy via email as well.
Our Chairman, South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster, introduces our report. Read an excerpt below:
Serving as Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board for two years has been a distinct honor, and I am happy to report that we are making great progress.
The Southern region’s energy and environmental landscape has evolved significantly during this time and undoubtedly will continue to do so. Our states are experiencing tremendous growth at a transformational time in commerce. To maintain this prosperity and fuel future economic development and job growth, it is imperative that we remain focused on enhancing and diversifying existing electric power production capacity—safe, secure, efficient, affordable, reliable, resilient, and sustainable electric power.
Our commitment to regional collaboration, communication, and cooperation transcends our individual states’ borders. The Board’s proven success in driving clean-energy investments, supporting emerging technologies and sustainable environmental solutions, and opening employment opportunities gives us enormous momentum.
Affordable, reliable energy is a critical component of the South’s economy. This year’s Annual Meeting, themed “got power? Fueling Future Growth and Prosperity in the South,” is intended to facilitate, focus, and advance ongoing discussions regarding the development and refinement of a robust regional energy policy. This policy must integrate renewable-energy sources, maintain electricity reliability, enhance energy efficiency, and incentivize innovation. We must prioritize sustainable infrastructure development, promote clean-energy investments, and advance grid modernization, including electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. In short, we have much work to do, as our region appears to be outpacing the others.
Our diverse fuel and energy resources support low-cost and dependable electricity. Natural gas is the South’s leading source of electricity generation, followed by nuclear, then coal. In 2020, nuclear surpassed coal as our region’s second-largest source of net energy generation. Natural gas generation has increased from 22 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2020. Electricity generated from renewable energy resources grew by nearly 14 percent from 2019 to 2020. Solar power was the fastest-growing renewable technology, generating 32 terawatt-hours in 2020, up nearly 50 percent from 2019 levels. Despite solar energy’s significant growth, wind remained the largest renewable energy source in the region, responsible for 7 percent of generation.
In South Carolina, our “Clean Energy Menu” showcases common sense commitment to progress. Our seven operational nuclear units are true powerhouses, generating an impressive 54-million-megawatt hours, collectively accounting for nearly 66 percent of South Carolina’s total power output. Natural gas also contributes significantly, at over 27 percent of our power output. Our solar capacity added a staggering 1,400 megawatts in 2022, encompassing over 35,000 installations. Notably, utilities in South Carolina recently secured approval for two new 100-megawatt solar facilities in Georgetown County.
To prepare for additional likely increasing needs, I issued Executive Order No. 2022-31, which formalized our State’s coordination of EV infrastructure deployment, prioritized economic development by training our workforce for EV jobs and establishing a “one-stop-shop” at the South Carolina Department of Commerce for EV businesses and prospects. The Order also created an Interagency Working Group to collaborate with stakeholders and local governments on a comprehensive plan for strategic EV charging station deployment across the State. As that market grows, we will be ready.
Further, through Executive Order No. 2023-18, I established “PowerSC,” a comprehensive effort which includes our EV initiative. The PowerSC Energy Resources and Economic Development Interagency Working Group steers our overall energy strategy. Its goal: to determine the questions and find their answers to ensure that South Carolina’s energy capacity aligns with our booming economic development and population growth. I know that you are doing the same.
Through these initiatives, we are all investing in education, jobs, and a sustainable future. Across our region, elected officials at all levels have been addressing similar topics. During the 2023 legislative session, member states and territories enacted more than 600 laws related to energy and the environment.
On the production front, initiatives focused on a variety of issues, including hydrogen, nuclear, and offshore wind. Among the environmental legislative trends tracked by the Board’s Energy and Environment Legislative Digest were a host of measures related to flooding and wastewater management, solid waste issues, and emergency planning and response.
One unique element of our Board’s progress is the Associate Members program. Established in 1981, this program has grown both in terms of numbers and variety of new questions over the past two years and now includes a record 59 active member entities. These members serve in an advisory capacity to the Board, providing critical insights on the impacts of federal and state policies and regulations, and they are quite active.
The Board’s radioactive materials transportation projects continue to initiate and develop policies regarding the safe transit of spent nuclear fuel, mutual aid compacts for nuclear power plants in the region, and decommissioning efforts at national laboratories. The gubernatorially appointed members of the Transuranic Waste Transportation Working Group coordinate interstate shipments of Cold War era legacy materials to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It is currently engaged in its fourth year of a five-year project, which has enabled our Board to provide direct funding to corridor States for personnel to monitor these shipments and engage in emergency response planning and first responder training. Our Radioactive Materials Transportation Committee is helping foster the continuance and growth of the nuclear energy industry by assisting the U.S. Department of Energy with consent-based siting for spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants.
The Southern States Energy Board’s work is responsible for nearly a half billion in taxpayer funds having been returned to our region through current programs—continuing an upward trend—by maintaining the commitment to providing an experienced technical staff of innovators and experts who are constantly at work for member States and territories. By nurturing partnerships, embracing innovation, and leveraging our strengths, we are fueling the South for a brighter, cleaner, and more prosperous future. As we embark on the next leg of this journey, let us remember that, we have a remarkable opportunity to shape our energy future.
I am confident that the best is yet to come.His Excellency Henry McMaster
Governor of South Carolina