Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – Sept 21


Electric Vehicles
It appears that Korean auto manufacturers have a winning combination with their EV lineup. The article Look Out, Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, & BMW — Kia Niro SUV Has Better Efficiency & Range, At Half The Price! explains why.

Also this week, Audi launched their production version of the e-tron SUV, which will be available for purchase in the second quarter of 2019 with a sticker price of $86,700. The base version will follow starting at $74,800 before tax incentives.

Businesses are looking to expand their fleets with electric vehicles to meet their emissions and sustainability goals. Ikea is quickly shifting to a zero-emissions delivery fleet. “The furniture company would like you to walk or bike to its stores and then have your furniture delivered by a clean Ikea vehicle.” And, your UPS deliveries may soon arrive in electric trucks. “Through its multiple partnerships with EV startups, the company is precipitating a sustainable transformation in the delivery industry.” Read more…

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Where the 2018 Candidates Stand on Energy: Democratic Nominee for Tennessee Governor Karl Dean

This post is the thirteenth post in a series of blogs examining where 2018 candidates for state and federal offices in the Southeast stand on key energy and climate issues. To read the candidate profile for Republican Nominee for Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, click here.

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee will participate in three debates before the election, on Oct. 2 in Memphis at the University of Memphis, on Oct. 9 in Kingsport at the Eastman Employee Center, and on Oct. 12 in Nashville at Belmont University. For more information, click here.

Candidate: Karl Dean

In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville, former Director of Law and public defender for Nashville, and current professor at Belmont University. According to his website, during his time as mayor, Dean established an Office of Sustainability, greatly expanded greenways, parks, and recycling in Nashville. While he was mayor Dean stated “Never underestimate the fact that the volunteer state will protect our environment and do what’s right,” and it was his goal to “make Nashville the cleanest city in the southeast,” according to the Tennessee Municipal League.

Renewables

In 2013 Dean spoke at the TN Solar Summit in Chattanooga. The following is a selection of quotes from or about Dean from the Times Free Press article about the event.

“Solar energy has been gaining incredible momentum and I think people want to see more,” Dean told participants at the TN Solar Summit in Chattanooga. “There is a lot of excitement when you put solar panels on a building and people can see that we are working to reduce our carbon footprint.”

But to sustain such growth, Dean urged government to maintain incentives for more solar installations. Federal tax credits and state and local tax exemptions — for both sales and property levies — have helped subsidize the industry and cut the startup costs for adding solar units. The Tennessee Valley Authority also buys back solar and other renewable energy at a premium price compared with other power sources.

“We need to focus more on incentivizing the use of solar and not creating disincentives through taxes and other means,’ Dean said “The market, under the right conditions, has responded favorably to solar power and should continue to trend upwards in the face of lower equipment and installation costs. That will create a better place for us all to live.”

Read more…

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Where the 2018 Candidates Stand on Energy: Republican Nominee for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

This post is the twelfth post in a series of blogs examining where 2018 candidates for state and federal offices in the Southeast stand on key energy and climate issues. To read the candidate profile for Democratic Nominee for Tennessee Governor, Karl Dean, click here.

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean will participate in three debates before the election, on Oct. 2 in Memphis at the University of Memphis, on Oct. 9 in Kingsport at the Eastman Employee Center, and on Oct. 12 in Nashville at Belmont University. For more information, click here.

Candidate: Bill Lee

In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Bill Lee, chairman and former CEO of Lee Co., a full-service home services, facilities and construction company founded by his grandfather in 1944, which Lee later purchased from his father and became president of in 1992, according to the Tennessean.

Renewables

We could not find any mention of renewable energy in Bill Lee’s campaign materials or publicly available information.

Energy Efficiency

We could not find any mention of energy efficiency in Bill Lee’s campaign materials or publicly available information. Read more…

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A Series of Unfortunate Events for Plant Vogtle – last new nuclear project in turmoil

Aerial image Courtesy of High Flyer (c) 2018

The last new nuclear power project remaining in the U.S., the expansion of Plant Vogtle in Georgia, is in turmoil. In August, Southern Company announced that the already budget-busting project had a $2.3 billion cost increase, just eight months after another multi-billion dollar cost increase was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) over the objections of PSC Staff and many intervening parties (including SACE, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner and Public Service Commissioner who predicted nearly all that occurred). What was once a ~$14 billion project that should have been fully operational in 2017 has now doubled in projected costs, and nine years into construction, the project is only halfway complete – meaning that it may be operational by the end of 2022.

Because of this recent massive cost increase, an imminent “go/no-go” decision needs to be made by September 24, 2018 by the Vogtle Co-Owners, which include Southern Company’s largest subsidiary, Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power (30%), the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) (22.7%), and Dalton Utilities (1.6%). MEAG has a Board meeting today – it’s unclear if they’ll decide at that meeting or wait until next Monday.

But a Series of Unfortunate Events is making all of this a very difficult, complicated decision:

  • Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), has serious Buyer’s Remorse and wants out BIG time and are pulling out all the legal and political stops to get out of the bad contract they entered into back in 2008 to buy power from MEAG from Vogtle’s first 20 years of operation. Here’s a sampling of JEA’s activities: 
  • A powerful group of members of the Georgia’s General Assembly, predominantly Republicans, from districts within MEAG’s service territory sent a strong letter to the Vogtle Co-Owners asking for a cost cap on the project before deciding to move forward with the project.

Read more…

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Where the 2018 Candidates Stand on Energy: Democratic Nominee for Tennessee Senator Phil Bredesen

This post is the eleventh post in a series of blogs examining where 2018 candidates for state and federal offices in the Southeast stand on key energy and climate issues. To read the candidate profile for Republican Nominee for Tennessee Senator, Marsha Blackburn, click here.

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Candidate: Phil Bredesen

In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Phil Bredesen, former mayor of Nashville, former governor of Tennessee, and businessman. SACE is committed to evaluating the energy platforms of both major party candidates running for Senator of Tennessee and encourage Tennessee voters to tune into a live upcoming debate between former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on September 25 at historic Cumberland University in Lebanon. Go here for more info on this debate.

Renewables

Although Bredesen does not state a position on renewable energy on his campaign website, his support for solar energy is evident as a founding partner of Silicon Ranch, a Nashville-based solar company founded in 2011 that boasts more than 100 projects in 14 states including the Southeast. While Bredesen currently serves as Silicon Ranch chairman, he has indicated he intends to step down as chairman if elected to the US Senate to focus on senatorial duties.

During Bredesen’s tenure as governor, he’s credited with attracting at least 20 new clean-energy manufacturing ventures to Tennessee, representing more than $2.9 billion in investment and creating more than 2,000 jobs producing photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, electric cars, and cellulosic biofuels. One of these was the major, $1 billion clean energy manufacturing investment by Wacker Chemie AG of Germany in 2009. Read more…

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Where the 2018 Candidates Stand on Energy: Republican Nominee for Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn

This post is the tenth post in a series of blogs examining where 2018 candidates for state and federal offices in the Southeast stand on key energy and climate issues.  To read the candidate profile for Democratic Nominee for Tennessee Senator, Phil Bredesen, click here.

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Candidate: Marsha Blackburn

In this blog, we examine the policies and positions of Marsha Blackburn, the Congresswoman currently representing Tennessee’s 7th Congressional district. SACE is committed to evaluating the energy platforms of both major party candidates running for Senator of Tennessee and we encourage Tennessee voters to tune into a live upcoming debate between Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and former Governor Phil Bredesen on September 25 at historic Cumberland University in Lebanon. Go here for more info on this debate.

Renewables

Blackburn has been a member for many years on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, and since 2011 she has served as Vice Chair. According to her Congressional website, Blackburn supports “a menu of clean, responsible energy options; not winners and losers chosen by the environmental lobby, in order to bring down the price at the pump and keep the economy going.” However, Blackburn voted against tax incentives for renewable energy via the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act in 2008 (Bill H.R.5351) put forward in an attempt to extend tax credits for the production of electricity from renewable resources (e.g., wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower) through 2011. Read more…

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This is how Chattanoogans gave TVA their own “Run Around”

This is a guest post written by Jenn Galler, SACE’s Regional Organizer Intern. 

On August 22nd I joined concerned Tennesseans in Knoxville at the TVA board meeting to voice our concerns. Customers are tired of TVA’s lack of innovation, transparency, and affordability, and we need answers. One of the biggest issues is high bills. TVA has long touted their low rates, but rates are not the whole picture. As a customer, you pay a bill, not a rate, and bills in our region are among the highest in the nation.

After a public comment section with about ten speakers using the term “runaround” to describe TVA’s actions, TVA unsurprisingly ran around our statements and questions. The President of TVA, Bill Johnson, even quoted our phrase “runaround,” yet still did not provide an explanation or answer to why TVA is raising rates while lowering the rate for large industrial customers. Or, why they are making it harder for customers to go solar. Or why they have an overall lack of transparency for a company that was created for the people.

A couple days later on August 25th, in response to the board meeting, Chattanoogan’s got creative and hosted a fun stunt race called the “TVA Run-A-Round 0.5K” in Chattanooga. We physically ran around the TVA offices to highlight how they are running around our questions. This event was about giving TVA a taste of their own medicine, but it was also about something more: building a volunteer base and growing the Renew TN campaign. It was a fun way to incorporate people and introduce them into Renew Tennessee campaign, getting locals further involved to spread the message and increase our people power. A great group of Tennesseans showed up to give TVA the run around: not only did they run around TVA but they spoke, passed out Renew TN petitions, took pictures, and are spreading the message of clean, affordable energy that our state needs to know.

Read more…

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VW Settlement Update

In July 2016, Volkswagen (VW) agreed to a multiple-part settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the illegal installation of ‘defeat devices’ on their diesel engines in violation of the Clean Air Act. There are two key programs of that settlement that offer emissions reduction opportunities for states:

1. A Zero Emissions Investment Commitment of $2 billion over 10 years to increase the use of zero-emissions vehicle technology in the U.S. The program will be administered by Electrify America, a newly formed subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America (VW).

2. An Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement (EMT) of $2.7 billion designed to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions where cheating VW diesel vehicles operated. Funds are allocated among beneficiaries (states, tribes, and certain territories) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions.

Under the EMT, each state was eligible to become a beneficiary and designate a lead agency to prepare and submit to the Trustee (Volkswagen via Wilmington Trust) a Mitigation Plan before the Trustee will distribute funds to the state. The Southeast is expected to receive more than $427 million through the program.

Read more…

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SACE Florida Director Susan Glickman named one of Florida’s most influential leaders

Congrats to our Florida Director, Susan Glickman, who was just named to Florida Trend‘s Florida 500 – a list of the 500 most influential Floridians. Susan has worked with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy since 2001 as a consultant and lobbyist and became Florida Director in 2013. A Florida native, she’s been a consultant for many national environmental organizations, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Prior to her work on energy and climate issues, Susan was with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and worked to have Congress grant the Food & Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco. She helped to institute a nationwide health tracking system for the Trust for America’s Health and for the first time, obtained funding from Congress for prostate cancer research developing the National Prostate Cancer Coalition. She serves on the Florida Commission on Volunteer Service appointed by Governor Rick Scott and was the Founding Chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.  Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – Sept 14

Source: U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fuel Economy Guide website

Electric Vehicles
Last week we highlighted an article explaining the inefficiencies of a traditional internal combustion engine. This week we bring you a contrasting graphic and information from the U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which demonstrates why EVs are such a better option to traditional internal combustion engines: 77%-82% of Energy Put into an Electric Car is Used to Move the Car Down the Road. “When energy gains from regenerative braking are included, the amount of energy used for traveling down the road can rise to more than 80% in the EPA-combined city and highway driving cycle.” Read more…

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