Electric Generation & Transmission
Laurens Electric is a member of Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Central) is a wholesale electric generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. Central is owned by the 20 independent, consumer-owned South Carolina distribution electric cooperatives.
Central and its member-cooperatives own transmission and distribution facilities in all 46 counties in South Carolina, serving electricity to about one-third of the state’s population. Central’s member-cooperatives serve over 820,000 meters and more than 1.5 million residents over 76,000 miles of power lines covering 70% of South Carolina.
Central’s supply portfolio is currently made up of three power contracts. The first is from the South Eastern Power Administration (SEPA) that supplies over 200 MW of hydroelectric energy to the cooperative system. Additionally, Central manages two large power contracts from Duke Energy and Santee Cooper that include additional hydro, nuclear, and renewables, as well as natural gas and coal.
Central is developing more than 300 MW of new solar projects and will be developing another 1,500 MW of solar over its planning horizon. This additional solar is part of a larger effort to diversify the cooperative’s supply mix.
Central’s board recently approved a diversified resource portfolio that is anticipated to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 86% in 2030 when compared to the coal generation (Winyah) it was developed to replace. As utilities in Southern Carolina take steps to move away from coal fired generation, the cooperatives have embraced a more diversified approach to keep costs low, maintain reliability, and reduce carbon emissions.