Duke officials: Energy plan will strengthen SC's energy grid, create jobs

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Duke Energy officials announced recently that the company will invest $3 billion over the next decade in South Carolina to strengthen the energy grid and provide a major boost to the state's economy. The program, called Power-Forward Carolinas, will consist of upgrades that will harden the system against storms and outages; further project it against cyberattacks and physical threats; help expand renewable energy; generate jobs; and stimulate economic growth. The initiative will also give 740,000 customers in the Palmetto State more information to manage their energy use, a release states. “Safely powering the lives of hard-working families and maintaining the vitality of our communities are our most important responsibilities,” said Duke Energy South Carolina President Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoefs "It’s an investment in our state that helps to attract jobs and industry and makes our economy and our communities stronger.” Chartey-Tagoefs said the capital investment by Duke will be roughly equivalent to adding several major automotive manufacturing sites in the state. The 10-year modernization plan for South Carolina will also entail: § An average of nearly 3,300 jobs supported per year

§ Almost $315 million in new salaries and wages annually during the peak years of construction § More than $116 million in new tax revenue for the state § A total economic output of more than $5 billion over the next decade “In South Carolina, we work together to ensure that our businesses have the resources needed to succeed, and access to safe, affordable energy is certainly one of those key resources,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “For decades, Duke Energy has been critical in this effort; and this new initiative will only strengthen our state’s reputation as an ideal location for business.” Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina, studied the economic impact of the project as well as the overall impact of Duke Energy to the economic state of South Carolina. “The investment associated with Duke Energy’s grid improvement project represents one of the largest capital investments in South Carolina in recent years,” Von Nessen said. “To put this into perspective, recent announcements from automotive manufacturers either expanding or relocating to South Carolina have ranged from $500 million to $1.5 billion, implying that the Power/Forward Carolinas initiative is roughly equivalent to several major automotive manufacturing announcements in the state.” For more information on Duke Energy’s Power-Forward Carolinas plan to build a smarter energy future, visit duke-energy.com/SCfuture.

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