Local businessman, Drew Kitt, Business Development and Marketing Executive for Enovo Energy, speaks in support of the resolution.
Last night, North Carolina’s Buncombe County Board of Commissioners adopted an Energy Independence Resolution that commits the county to achieving an 80 percent reduction in its carbon footprint through an annual 2 percent reduction goal. Commissioner Brownie Newman of Asheville introduced the resolution, which directs the county to implement high-impact energy efficiency measures that will provide an excellent return on investment saving county taxpayers up to $1.2 million in the first five years.
The resolution passed by a 5-2 vote and strongly affirmed the imperative to act on climate change whether for economic or moral reasons and represents “one of the most ambitious clean energy commitments adopted by any local government in the country,” Commissioner Brownie Newman said at the meeting.
Tags: actonclimate, Asheville, Buncombe County, carbon reduction, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, energy independence, GHG, goal, greenhouse gas emissions, North Carolina, Resolution
Click here to contact your elected officials today to voice your support for wind energy.
Courtesy: NREL (Buffalo Mountain Wind Project, Tennessee)
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a little-known federal incentive that can promote economic development from the private wind industry here in the United States. While wind farms have been slow to develop here in the Southeast, our region already benefits from the PTC. Yet, a misinformation campaign run by the Institute for Energy Research (a Washington, DC-based group that receives funding from the fossil fuel industry) ignores the facts and blindly states that the Southeast receives absolutely no benefit from the PTC. Listed below are just a few ways the wind energy PTC benefits our region.
The PTC Reduces Contract Prices and Low-Cost Power is Imported into the Southeast
The production tax credit reduces electricity prices from wind farms, so utilities can buy wind energy at a lower rate. Those utilities can then pass those savings on to ratepayers. Below is a synopsis of some of the low-cost wind power purchases made in the Southeast. Read more…
Tags: IER, Institute for Energy Research, production tax credit, PTC, south, southeast, southern, wind, wind energy, wind farm
This post is part four of a blog series on sea level rise, being developed concurrent with the new IPCC climate report, Florida Atlantic University’s Sea Level Rise Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Oct. 16 – 17, and the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on Oct. 29. See the first post, on the basic mechanisms and impacts of sea level rise, here, the second post, on how high the seas will rise, here, and the third post, on Southern communities providing leadership on sea level rise planning here.
When it comes to sea level rise, and climate change impacts in general, businesses have a major stake in minimizing the severity of impacts. Good business planning is based, in part, on risk aversion and climate change is about as risky as it gets. It doesn’t help the bottom line to be dealing with depleted natural resources, increased health care costs, or interrupted supply chains as a result of global warming. Nor does it boost profitability to have flooded real estate, inundated transportation routes, and general loss of coastal resources and income generation from sea level rise.
So it only makes sense that the private sector should be leading on the issue of sea level rise – and in some places, to some extent, the private sector is leading the way. Initiatives spanning from the local to the global are helping tear down the false duality that economy and environment are separate interests.
Take for example the SCBARS campaign. SCBARS, short for South Carolina Businesses Acting on Rising Seas, is a project of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce that SACE has been assisting with since its launch. SCBARS is a network of small, independent business owners along the South Carolina coast who are taking a stand to protect our coastal treasured places from this particular impact of climate change. Here on the Southeastern coast, the economy is firmly rooted in tourism and the local tourism industry largely comprises small, independent businesses. Small business such as these are disproportionately affected by climate impacts such as sea level rise because they have less financial padding with which to absorb shocks such as the flooding events that are becoming more typical in a warmer world, as well as the threats of flooded buildings, commuting problems for employees and access issues for customers, and higher operating costs to pay for adaptation efforts. With these risks becoming more apparent as global warming pollution goes largely unchecked, it’s no wonder that over 100 small businesses agreed to participate in SCBARS in just the first few months of the campaign.
Tags: business, CERES, Climate Declaration, investment, SCBARS, sea level rise, SLR blog series, South Carolina
Four weeks from now marks the fifth anniversary of the Kingston coal ash spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. Leading up to the anniversary we are posting a series of blogs highlighting communities throughout the Southeast impacted by coal ash and its detrimental effects. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to Donna Welch, resident of Juliette, Georgia, who contributed to this post.
The Welch's well water is contaminated with extremely high levels of uranium, so they only drink bottled water. Photo Source: Heather Duncan
This Thanksgiving, you are probably looking forward to gathering with friends and family; taking time to rest, relax and enjoy a home cooked feast. But would you invite your family and friends to your home if there were a coal ash lagoon in your neighborhood, threatening a Kingston-like spill at any time? Would you cook that Thanksgiving meal if toxic heavy metals from the coal ash had seeped into your drinking water, making it impossible to safely drink and cook with the water that flows from your faucet? That is what faces many communities across the Southeast including Juliette, Georgia; home to the largest coal-fired power plant in the state.
Dozens of people living near the Scherer Power Station have found unsafe levels of uranium and other toxic heavy metals in their well water. This pollution, they say, comes from the plant’s huge, unlined coal ash dumps. Many have joined in a personal injury lawsuit seeking to hold Georgia Power responsible for the pollution’s impacts.
Tags: arsenic, asthma, cancer, Clean Water Act, Coal, coal ash, Donna Welch, EPA, Georgia, Georgia Power, hives, Juliette, kidney disease, Kingston, Scherer, Southern Company, Thanksgiving, toxic, University of Georgia, uranium, Water
This blog is the first in a series on biocarbon tools and strategies for climate mitigation.
How are we going to repair the changed climate?
Seriously, how are we going to un-do the damage already done? The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere (400 parts per million or ppm) is well beyond the 350 ppm that scientists agree is needed “if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted.” (Dr James Hansen, 2008.)
Why is 400 ppm a concern? Why must we get back to 350 ppm? Read more here.
We’ve already overshot, which means not only must we stop emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs), but we must also begin actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere and putting it somewhere safe. Read more…
Tags: afforestation, biocarbon, biochar, bioenergy, biomass, CCS, sequestration, sustainable agriculture
Clean energy and energy independence are always on our minds, so it seems only fitting that this Thanksgiving we take a look at how far we’ve come in developing renewable energy in our nation. Here’s a great blog from our friends at Moms Clean Air Force. You can view the original post here.
Wind energy is on the rise in America and is providing huge environmental benefits for the country, according to a new report released today by Environment America.
The group says if we continue adding onshore wind capacity at the rate we did from 2007 to 2012, and take the first steps toward development of massive potential for offshore wind, by 2018 wind energy will be averting carbon dioxide equivalent to taking 32 million passenger vehicles off the road each year. We would also be saving enough water to supply the annual domestic water needs of 2.1 million people—roughly as many people as live in the city of Houston. Read more…
Tags: Clean Energy, Environment America, Moms Clean Air Task Force, Thanksgiving, wind
SACE staff at the Clemson WTDTF grand opening, standing in front of the 15 megawatt turbine test bed.
Yesterday was the grand opening of the Clemson University Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, the biggest and most advanced test center of its kind in the world. SACE was a sponsor of the event had the pleasure of sending a small team to attend.
The facility will test advanced wind turbines by simulating field conditions to measure the turbines’ response and interaction with the grid. Last night, attendees were able to view both of the facility’s test beds, with capacities of 7.5 megawatts and 15 megawatts, respectively. For reference, this largest offshore wind turbine currently deployed is 6 megawatts. The eGRID grid simulator onsite will also allow for researching how other energy technologies such as solar power interact with the grid. This type of research is increasingly significant as the electric system becomes more decentralized and smart grid technology becomes more important. It is clear that Clemson has built its facility with an eye to the future. Read more…
Tags: Charleston, Clemson, Clemson University, Clemson University Restoration Institute, Clemson University Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, Department of Energy, DOE, Duke Energy, North Charleston, SCANA, SCE&G, South Carolina, wind, wind energy, wind power, WTDTF
The Waccamaw River is home to an astounding array of species and is used for drinking water, fishing and recreation. This week's announcement will remove coal ash on the Waccamaw and Cooper Rivers and Winyah Bay.
For almost half a century Santee Cooper dumped coal ash in unlined pits at its Grainger Power Station in Conway, South Carolina. This ash pollutes the Waccamaw River with high levels of arsenic and other toxic heavy metals, prompting SACE and other conservation groups to file suit against the utility for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
On November 19, Santee Cooper announced that they would settle our suit by agreeing to remove all of the Grainger ash waste – equalling 1.3 million tons – as well as the contaminated soil underneath the lagoons, away from the river. They will be looking to “beneficially reuse” most of the ash waste as well as moving some into new capped and lined impoundments offsite.
But in a surprise additional announcement Santee Cooper also committed to removing all the wet-stored ash at its Winyah and Jefferies coal-fired power stations over the next 10 to 15 years, saying that most of the ash will be recycled at a new facility being built in Georgetown, South Carolina. Santee Cooper’s executive vice president of corporate services, R.M. Singletary, calls the plan a “win, win, win” for the local environment, economy, and the utility.
We agree that this is a huge step in the right direction and applaud Santee Cooper’s commitment to clean up their coal ash across South Carolina’s Low Country. In making this announcement, Santee Cooper emerges as a leader in the Southeast for addressing toxic coal ash waste and sets a much needed precedent for the rest of the utilities in our region.
Tags: arsenic, coal ash, Conway, Cooper, Duke, Grainger, Jefferies, leader, recycle, Santee Cooper, SCE&G, South Carolina, Southern Environmental Law Center, toxic, Waccamaw, Wateree, Winyah
I just returned from the 125th Annual Meeting of NARUC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, held this year in Orlando, FL. The agenda touched on a vast range of issues facing the energy sector. A good deal of discussion was devoted to what’s been termed the “net metering fuss”- concerns over net metering that are an extension of the investor owned utilities’ increasing distress about losing market share to lower cost, clean renewables like solar. We profiled these worries in a previous blog discussing the Edison Electric Institute’s January report titled, ‘Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business.’
Throughout the programs at the conference that touched on this issue, one of the recurring themes put forth by utilities is the concept of “cross subsidization,” which poses the idea that non-solar utility customers are subsidizing affluent customers who can afford to install solar at their homes. This is a theme that we’re beginning to hear more and more in the Southeast . It’s disappointing to hear this reductive argument repeated as it’s both factually inaccurate and deceptive to consumers. Read more…
Tags: Cameron Brooks, cross subsidization, NARUC, net metering, PV, solar
Last week Georgia’s leading water protection group, the Georgia Water Coalition, of which Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is an active partner, announced the “Dirty Dozen” for 2013, highlighting 12 of the year’s worst offenses to Georgia’s waters. The annual Dirty Dozen report shines a spotlight on state policies and failures that ultimately harm Georgia property owners, taxpayers, downstream communities, fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers, and boaters and swimmers. This year, 3 of the 12 were polluting and water-intensive existing and proposed nuclear and coal-fired power plants: Plant Vogtle, Plant Scherer, and Plant Washington. The full report details the history of each selection and suggests solutions to correct these ongoing problems and eliminate the listed threats.
As described by April Ingle, Executive Director of the Georgia River Network, “The Dirty Dozen is not a list of the most polluted water bodies in Georgia, nor are they ranked in any particular order. It’s a list of problems that exemplify the results of inadequate funding for environmental protections, lack of political will to enforce environmental laws and ultimately misguided water planning and spending priorities that flow from the very top of Georgia’s leadership.”
Additionally, Gordon Rogers with the Flint Riverkeeper mentioned that, “Over the past decade, the health of Georgia’s waterways and the health and safety of Georgia citizens has been compromised as funding for Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has not kept pace with population and economic growth.”
The report highlighted existing and proposed coal-fired and nuclear power plants (items 6, 8 and 12 in the report—representing four different plants) that harm water quality and quantity in Georgia’s rivers by withdrawing massive amounts of water, discharging heated water back to the waterways, and generating toxic pollution from coal ash dumps and airborne pollution. A fuller picture of these power plant-related “offenders” is described below. Read more…
Tags: Coal, coal ash, Dirty Dozen, EW3, Georgia, Georgia Power, Georgia Water Coalition, mcintosh, Nuclear, planning, Plant McIntosh, Plant Washington, Pollution, reactor, Savannah, Scherer, supply, toxic, Vogtle, Water