PROGRESS ENERGY TO CLOSE HARTSVILLE FACILITY
In news that barely made a dent in the mainstream media, Progess Energy announced over a week ago that it will be shuttering its only coal-fired energy facility in South Carolina. The plant – located near Hartsville, S.C. – will be closed on October 1.
A press release put out by the company – which recently merged with Duke Energy – cited “pending changes in environmental regulations” as the reason for the closure. More specifically it referenced “the cost of adding state-of-the-art emission controls” at the plant to comply with new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, as well as “the potential for additional emission regulations in the future.”
Translation? The facility is a casualty of U.S. President Barack Obama’s “War on Coal.”
So … how many South Carolina jobs will be lost as a result of this closure? According to a company spokesman, not many. The “normal compliment” of workers at the facility is forty-five – and of those 22 have been given new jobs within the company while another 10 elected to take a voluntary severance package. That leaves thirteen remaining employees, all of whom the company says it will continue to work with in their efforts to find gainful employment.
“These plants, and especially the men and women who have operated and maintained them, have played a vital role in meeting customer energy needs reliably and affordably for decades,” a Duke executive said in the company’s release. “As we continue modernizing our generation system, we salute those who have been instrumental in fueling our region’s economic growth so dependably.”
We suspect the real impact of this plant closure will be on energy prices for South Carolina consumers …
UPDATE: Ironically, law firm of the State Senator who represents Hartsville, S.C. – Gerald Malloy – was recently paid $535,000 by Progress Energy for “legal services.”