South Carolina Electric & Gas Company has entered into an agreement in principle to purchase a 540MW combined-cycle, natural-gas-fired power plant from Columbia Energy for $180m.

Located in Gaston, S.C., the Columbia Energy Center plant is a combined heat and power plant. Along with producing electricity, it produces process steam that supports the operation of a neighboring manufacturing facility.

The plant is one of the most recently built power facilities in South Carolina. It began operating in 2004 and employs 19 people. Over the life of the plant, SCE&G has been the primary customer for power produced from the plant.

SCE&G's purchase of the plant is subject to negotiation of a definitive purchase agreement and to certain regulatory approvals, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina. SCE&G hopes to finalize the purchase over the next several weeks, and to obtain regulatory approval in 2018.