Challenge: Determine the needs of the state in terms of renewable energy in the context of Act 236 and beyond.
Background: Recognized nationally as landmark legislation, the South Carolina Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Program Act of 2014 (Act 236) was passed unanimously by the South Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. Designed collaboratively by policy makers, investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, the ORS, environmental and conservation groups, renewable energy developers and installers, large energy users, and other stakeholders in the state, this legislation represents multiple public policies. These policies support the adoption and integration of various types of renewable energy technologies in South Carolina — from small customer-generators like rooftop solar to large, “central plant” renewable generation — as well as distributed energy resources like energy storage.
Over the past two years, much has been accomplished under Act 236. To build on the growing South Carolina solar industry, we need to look at how to continue to incorporate more renewables, including wind, into future IRPs or through legislative actions that allow the utilities to operate their grids safely, reliably, economically, and equitably. In addition, as the price of solar continues to fall and the industry grows and matures, it is important for consumers to understand the economics of their purchasing decisions.
Approach: In spring of 2017, the SC Electric Cooperatives established a committee and held a number of meetings. After significant legislative activity, the initial committee agreed that further activity would not be productive in the near term. That committee developed materials pursuant to the original approach. In May of 2018 the Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) asked the Energy Office to continue the effort. Materials related to the Energy Office-led effort are below.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS (PDF)