Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in South Carolina

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South Carolina, known as the Palmetto State, has been taking increasing strides in recent years to become more energy efficient and utilize renewable energy much more to become much greener. Many more homes, businesses, and schools are taking necessary strides to reduce their carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of the environment. Many organizations and businesses are working together to put South Carolina on the map as one of the most environmentally sustainable state in the whole nation. Listed below are just ten highlights of clean technology in South Carolina.

1 ) University of South Carolina. The University of South Carolina has a sustainability plan and a sustainability policy with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020. The university has started to use a number of energy efficiency technologies, including economizers and heat recovery systems. There are photovoltaic arrays set up across campus as well as solar hot water systems and a biomass burner. All new buildings at the university need to meet at the minimum LEED Silver Certification criteria. Currently, one building is Gold Certified and five meet Silver criteria. Water conservation technologies have also been employed on campus, including water metering and low flow faucets.

2 ) Clemson University. Just like the University of South Carolina, Clemson University Clemson University has a strategic plan that incorporates environmental and resource stewardship. There is also a sustainability committee that has established various green energy as well as eco-friendly business policies. The university remains committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020. All new buildings as well as major renovations need to reach LEED Silver Certification standards. Currently, there are 15 LEED certified buildings across campus. The university provides incentives to carpoolers as well as reduced prices on public transportation.

3 ) South Carolina Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. In an effort to help residents and businesses in South Carolina afford making the switch the renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, the state of South Carolina has created a number of incentives for renewables and efficiency. This includes corporate tax credits, performance based incentives, personal tax credits, sales tax incentives, and a number of utility loan and rebate programs from some of the major utility companies in the state, including Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Duke Energy, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Progress Energy Carolinas, and SCE&G.

4 ) Boeing South Carolina to Be Powered with 100 Percent Renewable Energy. In April 2011, South Carolina Electric and Gas and Boeing announced a new energy partnership to enable Boeing South Carolina to operate under 100 percent renewable energy, including 20 percent generated utilizing an on-site solar far that will power the 787 production facilities in North Charleston. South Carolina Electric and Gas will own, install and maintain thin-film solar laminate panels covering the roof of the final assembly line, which will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of electrical power, which equals approximately 250 homes. “Our 787 Dreamliner is manufactured using fewer hazardous materials and designed to consume less fuel, and produce fewer emissions. It only makes sense that our business operations in South Carolina reflect the environmental progressiveness of the airplane we’ll build here,” says Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO.

5 ) South Carolina Biomass Council. The South Carolina Biomass Council was established in 2006 in increase biomass products and energy throughout South Carolina. It works with state legislators, biomass users and produces, as well as stakeholders to elevate awareness and utilization of biomass energy. The objective of the South Carolina Biomass Council “is to develop a long term strategy to make biomass energy a feasible utility-scale alternative to traditional power generation and traditional transportation fuels.”

6 ) Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition. The Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition is one of 88 designated coalitions throughout the United States and is part of the Clean Cities program. It is a place where individuals, stakeholders, organizations, local and state government agencies, and other businesses can go to get all necessary information about the development and promotion of clean fuels.

7 ) The Sustainability Institute. The Sustainability Institute in South Carolina leads the Energy Conservation Corps South Carolina, which has the main mission of green workforce training as well as providing home weatherization repairs and upgrades to low-income households throughout Charleston County.

8 ) South Carolina among Top Ten States for LEED Green Buildings. In 2011, South Carolina ranked number five on the United States Green Building Council’s top ten list for LEED certified buildings per capita. For instance, West Quad at the University of South Carolina is a LEED certified building as the residence hall utilized 40 percent less energy when compared to other facilities and is the first LEED certified building on the campus. “A lot of times you will hear about South Carolina being last to pick up on things, so it is nice for to be in top of the nation as far as adopting new and emerging trends in construction,” says Josh Boltinhouse with the South Carolina Green Building Council.

9 ) Carolina Recycling Association. The Carolina Recycling Association, with offices in South Carolina, was established in 1989 and is a nonprofit organization created by a number of people, including multinational corporations, local government agencies, state government agencies, and small businesses, committed to recycling and waste reduction efforts. The mission of the Carolina Recycling Association “is to conserve resources by advancing recycling and waste reduction throughout the Carolinas.”

10 ) South Carolina Unveils New Electric Vehicle Charging Network. In December 2010 South Caroline started deploying a multi-city electric vehicle charging network. Plug in Carolina along with Eaton Corporation started a statewide tour to commemorate the introduction, starting with the state capitol building in Columbia. The project is funded by two state grants that were secured through the South Carolina Energy Office. “Something special is taking place. Our state is one of the first to invest and create an EV charger infrastructure across multiple cities,” said James Poch, executive director of Plug In Carolina. “We are showing the nation that our citizens and businesses welcome these vehicles. Within the last year, South Carolina has had two EV manufacturers, Proterra and CT&T, locate their manufacturing operations in the state, and we’re ready for more.”

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.