Santee Cooper finds possible nuclear unit buyer

Santee Cooper has another possible buyer interested in part of its stake in two new nuclear units under construction in the Midlands.
The state-owner utility signed a letter of intent with Columbus, OH-based American Municipal Power Inc. to explore the possible purchase of 2% to 5% of the new reactors. The letter is not currently binding the company to a purchase.

The utility signed another letter of intend last month that allows it to negotiate a deal with South Mississippi Electric Power Association to purchase 2% to 7% of the US10billion project and some of the energy that it will generate. Charlotte-based Duke Energy has also been offered to purchase a 5% to 10% in the new reactors, though that letter of intent is pending.

Santee Cooper owns 45% of the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant expansion and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. Owns 55% of the two 1,100MW units being built in Fairfield County, north of Columbia, SC. Licenses for the project were approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March.

Santee Cooper began to evaluate its level of ownership in 2010 when its biggest customer, Central Electric Power Cooperative decided to shift 1,000MW of its load to Duke in 2013. The company’s decision, reduced demand and new federal regulations for coal-fired plants halted Santee Coopers plants to build a US1.2billion generator in 2009. The company wants to reduce its ownership stake in the new nuclear units to around 20%.

The two new units are scheduled to come online in 2017 and 2018.
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