A Clean and Just Energy System
South Carolinians are already seeing the impacts of our state’s over–reliance on fossil fuels–from some of the highest energy bills in the nation, to sea level rise and chronic flooding, to hurricanes and extreme weather events. To respond, we must act quickly to limit our emissions, but do so in a way that provides affordable and reliable energy for all South Carolinians.
CVSC works across the energy sector – from generation facilities to transmission systems, to the point of use – to reduce emissions and transition to clean and affordable energy. We work with community partners, utilities, lawmakers, clean energy companies, and more as we fight for a just energy future that is powered by renewables.
Ensuring a clean and just energy future for South Carolina requires a continued effort at the legislature to transform our energy system. We are working to build on SC’s progress in the 2019 Energy Freedom Act and pursue new options to create an energy grid that works for ALL South Carolinians. This includes transitioning SC’s energy generation to affordable, clean energy while also increasing market competition to lower rates for SC ratepayers. We must ensure customer affordability, energy efficiency, and demand response are a key part of the clean energy transition and energy policy in our state.
While passing robust and equitable clean energy legislation is important, we also work to make sure these laws are implemented. Currently, we are working to ensure legislative victories like the Energy Freedom Act and the Santee Cooper reform package result in substantial progress for our state towards a clean and just energy future. Read more about our legislative priorities.
Utilities have a big impact on our energy future, so it’s important to hold them accountable. Our accountability work focuses on the Public Service Commission (PSC), the state agency that regulates utilities. The PSC’s powers increased under the 2019 Energy Freedom Act, landmark bipartisan legislation that accelerated the clean energy transition, making accountability more important than ever.
We work to increase public participation at the PSC, amplifying voices for clean, affordable energy. We educate the public and share opportunities to participate in decision-making through petitions and testimony. Public participation will be crucial in 2023, when the PSC will make several important policy decisions:
- Whether to approve each utility’s long-term resource plan, which details how it will meet its energy needs in the coming years.
- The price and contract terms Duke Energy and Dominion Energy apply when buying power from solar farms.
- Whether utilities can continue to raise customer bills to cover the costs of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
- Whether to send new regulations designed to protect landowners before pipeline construction to the General Assembly.
For more information about the PSC, and for news and action opportunities, visit www.upowersc.com.
Note: We do not endorse Public Service Commissioner candidates.
We want clean energy that works for ALL South Carolinians. We must make sure that rural, low-wealth communities, and communities of colors aren’t paying a disproportionate amount of their income towards their energy bill.
For South Carolina, this means ensuring that energy is affordable for all. Many South Carolinians experience very high energy bills. When compared to household income, this is expressed as a percentage of household income known as a household’s ‘energy burden’. Many households in our state have energy burdens well above 6% (generally recognized as the limit for affordability) with some households experiencing energy burdens exceeding 50%. To address this, CVSC and partners have created the Energy Justice Coalition which is a diverse group of over 30 organizations that share the common goal of reducing high energy burdens for families in South Carolina.
A Just Transition to clean energy also requires supporting communities at the frontline of the energy transition. As legacy coal plants are closed we must seek a Just Transition for these communities and ensure they aren’t left behind in the transition to clean energy. We are currently working with the Georgetown, SC Community and Santee Cooper to help facilitate the development of an economic transition plan for workers and communities ahead of the Winyah Coal Plant Closure.
In the new legislative session, we’re actively working with legislators and stakeholders to develop comprehensive energy reform legislation that promotes a clean energy transition in South Carolina that reduces risk, promotes affordability, and enhances the reliability and resilience of SC’s grid. Between the Speaker of the House’s Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Development and the ongoing Joint Committee on Energy Market Reform, this session is likely to provide major opportunities to advance clean energy in SC.
Expanding SC’s EV Charging Network – CVSC worked with Rep. Brandon Newton and partners to introduce the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit Bill (H.3824). This legislation expands SC’s existing alternative fuel tax credit to make EV chargers eligible for the 25% credit. This credit not only provides EVs with the same credit already available to propane, and hydrogen-powered vehicles, but will help SC’s EV charging network keep pace with the rapid adoption of electric vehicles.
Last Year CVSC worked to advance:
Wind Energy – CVSC worked with a Republican lawmaker to draft, introduce, and pass the Wind Supply Chain Study bill (H.4831). This legislation requires the Commerce Department to create a study on the economic impacts of the wind energy supply chain industry and opportunities to expand this part of SC’s clean energy economy.
Reducing Costs for Storm Cleanup and Coal Plant Closures: CVSC worked with Rep. Wetmore to introduce H.5162, which authorized securitization for both storm recovery and coal closure costs. We worked closely with Rep. Wetmore to highlight the benefits of this bill vs a more limited bill supported by the utilities. Despite our attempts, a storm-only securitization bill (S.1077) passed the House and Senate with the utility’s limited language that does not provide as robust cost-savings for customers. Through our advocacy for reducing costs for coal plant closures, several legislators pledged to address coal closure securitization in a separate bill next session.
Read more about our legislative priorities and the status of these bills here.
CVSC 2020-2024 strategic plan prioritizes passage of clean energy, land protection, and water quality policies, conservation; building a conservation majority in the General Assembly; strengthening the conservation movement in South Carolina; and ensuring all of our efforts are rooted in racial justice and equity.