Why was smoke pouring from an old coal-fired generating plant on - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Why was smoke pouring from an old coal-fired generating plant on Lake Murray?

(Source: SCE&G) (Source: SCE&G)

We've received several questions into the WIS news room about an old coal-fired generating plant near Lake Murray suddenly generating large plumes of what appeared to be smoke. 

Well, that's apparently not the case. 

In 2016, the McMeekin Station was converted from a coal-fired plant to a natural gas-fired generating plant. McMeekin Station is one of two plants converted to natural gas due to the fact that natural gas prices have plummeted in recent years.

SCE&G officials say they still have three coal-fired plants, but that it "makes sense to have a diverse mix of generation sources."

"There’s a lot that goes into making these types of decisions, but ultimately, we’re always looking for the best economical, long-term solution for generating safe, reliable electricity for our customers," SCANA spokeswoman Ginny Jones said.

But what about the smoke? Nope. Not smoke, SCANA said. Instead, it was likely water vapor.

"Water vapor is released from the stack when the plant is operating, but it only becomes visible when the temperature outside is below approximately 40 degrees," Jones said. "We got several questions from other folks about it at the time."


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