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Energy Woes May Close South Carolina Smelter

October 28, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

smelterAlmost 600 people may soon be unemployed because the Mt. Holly Century aluminum smelter in Goose Creek, S.C. can’t make a satisfactory deal with utility Santee Cooper or another energy provider, according to ABC News 4.

The story says that State Representative Joe Daning tried to broker a deal, which fell through. A statement from Santee Cooper said that the core problem is a recession in the aluminum sector that has seen prices drop to half of what they were before the recession. Mt. Holly Century Aluminum said in a statement to its employees that it had “secured a power contract” with a third party supply, but Santee Cooper would have to allow use of its transmission lines. The story doesn’t indicate Santee Cooper’s position on the question.

To the north, aluminum giant Alcoa, ironically, is in the energy business. WRAL reported that the company “moved closer” to a license to operate dams on North Carolina’s state’s second largest river system by receiving a water quality certification. The certification, according to the story, came with conditions. The company ran a smelter on the river system until 2007. Now it sell electricity to commercial customers.

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