The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants Santee Cooper, South Carolina's state-owned utility, to conduct further environmental studies before it will renew the license for its hydroelectric system.

The 60,705ha hydro scheme is located on Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. FERC wants the study to identify ‘reasonable alternatives’ to deal with the effects of the US$15B project.

Santee Cooper is reportedly confident that the federal group will be happy with the results of a study and that the 30-year license will be renewed.

The lakes are home to two hydro power plants, along with 66km of dams and dikes. The system generates about 1% of Santee Cooper’s electricity production.