The Carolinas’ First Offshore Wind Lease Sale Scheduled for March 16

The orange area denotes the Kitty Hawk leasing area.

The first-ever lease sale for offshore wind off the Carolinas’ coast has been scheduled for March 16, 2017. The lease sale will allow interested development companies to bid on the rights to site assessment activities to gauge the suitability of the area for offshore wind development. The area to be leased is known as the Kitty Hawk leasing area, and lies approximately 24 nautical miles off of North Carolina’s  coast (depicted in orange in the map to the right). This announcement follows the identification of the area in August 2014 and the proposal of the sale last August.

North Carolina has the largest offshore wind resource in the nation (that can be harnessed economically with current technology) and this lease sale is a concrete step to begin benefiting from the massive energy potential. Others see the great potential too as nine separate development companies have expressed interest in bidding on the lease. This heightened interest in development comes at an interesting time for the wind industry, as very promising advances and discouraging setbacks take place nationally and in North Carolina. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. powered up just last month in Rhode Island, the first onshore wind farm in North Carolina is in the final stages of construction now, and the states of New York and Massachusetts have committed to developing thousands of megawatts of offshore wind. Meanwhile, some of the country’s most promising offshore wind farm projects have stalled in pre-construction phases for years. With this mixed assessment of what the implications would be for North Carolina, the interest of so many development companies shows strong private sector confidence in the success of the Kitty Hawk wind development. Read more…

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SACE to Host Series of Department of Energy Meetings for Solar Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy has launched the Solar in Your Community Challenge to inspire hundreds of local teams across the country to participate in bringing solar programs and projects to their communities. It aims to expand the solar market to a diverse array of new consumers, including low- and moderate-income customers and nonprofit community-serving organizations. SACE is partnering with the Department of Energy by hosting several informational meetings in Tennessee and Florida. So far, meetings have been scheduled in Miami, Orlando and Memphis and are open to all groups or individuals interested in learning more about the Challenge.

Meeting participants will meet with a Department of Energy representative to learn more about this unique opportunity to win funding for solar energy programs and projects. At the meeting, the group will learn about the emerging National Community Solar Partnership and the Challenge rules, including prize structure, teams, and timeline.  Attendees will also watch sample pitches, have an opportunity to brainstorm their own pitches, and connect with other potential teammates.

Competing teams will be eligible for cash prizes and technical assistance from the Department of Energy and other experts nationwide. As a result of the Challenge, teams across the country will build local capacity to address the legal, technical, financial, and administrative aspects of community solar programs and projects, and solar will become a dream realized for many more people.

SACE is excited to be a part of this initiative and welcomes involvement from SACE members! Learn more and RSVP here:

Miami – January 19, 12-1:30 PM ET

Orlando – February 8th, 2 PM ET

Memphis – January 26, 6-8 PM CT

 

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Democracy for Sale Screens Across North Carolina

This is a guest blog from Working Films, originally posted here. New screenings could be added after this guest post is published so check the original post for the most up to date info. SACE is excited to partner with Working Films and several allies on the Asheville, NC screening on Jan. 25th. See Facebook event page for more details on this specific screening.

North Carolina – once a beacon of light and generosity in a sea of red state reactionary politics – is now one of the most regressive and intentionally belligerent states in the union. The new documentary Democracy for Sale, featuring NC native Zach Galifianakis, uncovers the role that money has played in this shift and offers a lesson for the rest of the nation.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Appalachian Voices, Democracy NC, The NC NAACP, and many others to organize more than a dozen screenings across North Carolina to inform and mobilize residents to demand campaign finance reform, environmental protection, and an end to racist gerrymandering.

 

Check out the schedule of dates and cities below.

Monday January 23rd at 7pm – Cullowhee
A K Hinds University Center – WCU
Room 210, Memorial Dr.
Cullowhee, NC 28723
Hosted by: Student Democracy Coalition.

Tuesday January 24th at 7pm – Walnut Cove
Rising Star
915 Windmill St.
Walnut Cove, NC 27052
Hosted by: Appalachian Voices.

Wednesday January 25th at 7pm – Asheville [RSVP on Facebook]
The Grail Moviehouse
45 S French Broad Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
Hosted by: Buncombe County NAACPClean Water for NCDemocracy NCSouthern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Southern Environmental Law Center.

Thursday January 26th at 7pm – Bakersville
The Old Courthouse
11 N Mitchell Ave.
Bakersville, NC 28705
Hosted by: Yancey Mitchell NAACP.

Sunday January 29th at 3pm – Shelby
Newgrass Brewing
213 S Lafayette St.
Shelby, NC 28150
Hosted by: MountainTrue, and Broad River Alliance.

Tuesday January 31st at 7pm – Fayetteville
Cameo Art House Theatre
225 Hay St.
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Hosted by: The Fayetteville Branch NAACP.

Wednesday February 1st at 7pm – Wilmington
The Cameron Art Museum
3201 S 17th St.
Wilmington, NC 28412
Hosted by: New Hanover County NAACP.

Friday February 3rd at 7pm – Chapel Hill
Church of Reconciliation
110 N Elliott Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Hosted by: Southern Environmental Law CenterChurch of Reconciliation Justice and Peace Committee, and Raging Grannies.

Monday February 6th at 7pm – Boone
Price Lake Room at ASU
287 Rivers St.
Boone, NC 28608
Hosted by: Appalachian VoicesDemocracy Matters, and Democracy NC.

Tuesday February 7th at 7pm – Raleigh
Community UCC
814 Dixie Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
Hosted by: 350 Triangle, and the CUCC Social Justice Committee.

Thursday February 9th at 7pm – Durham
Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
4907 Garrett Rd.
Durham, NC 27707
Hosted by: The Durham People’s Alliance, and NC WARN.

Additional screenings are being scheduled in Charlotte, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, New Bern, Pembroke, and Winston Salem. If your city isn’t on the list and you’d like to bring Democracy for Sale to your town, contact Andy at amyers@workingfilms.org.

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Reducing the Energy Burden in the Southeast: Tackling Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Housing

When temperatures drop in the Southeast – as occurred this past week – many residents turn up their thermostat to stay warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, this is not a luxury that all can afford.  For low-income households, including multifamily households, the proportion of household income spent on energy – their energy burden – can be up to three times as much as higher-income households. Low-income households tend to live in less energy-efficient homes, and while increased energy burdens can affect these households year round, extreme temperatures in the winter and summer can result in a high energy burden for those that can least afford it.

One of the best ways to reduce this energy burden is by targeting multifamily buildings with energy efficiency investments. SACE has been working with partners throughout the Southeast – including Advanced Energy, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) – to bring the region’s multifamily stakeholders together and work towards solutions to reduce the energy burden for low-income and multifamily households. According to a report published by SEEA in 2016, nearly 25% of the households in the Southeastern United States live in multifamily buildings, defined as those with at least two, and typically more than four, dwelling units. While some multifamily units are owner-occupied, the majority – over 95 percent – are occupied by tenants who do not have an incentive to invest in improvements to a property they do not own. Read more…

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Broad Coalition Helps Solar Win in Florida On 1

This is a guest blog originally published by FL SUN (Florida Solar United Neighborhoods) a cooperative effort spearheaded by League of Women Voters and supported by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. In addition to fighting for good solar policy, FL SUN is working to bring more solar development to the Sunshine State by negotiating group pricing on residential solar systems via “solar co-ops”. You can learn more about the organization here.

Solar supporters in Florida scored a major victory in November by defeating utility-backed Amendment 1. The ballot initiative would have paved the way for Florida utilities to dismantle net metering for solar customers. This would have severely stunted the state’s distributed roof top solar market.

Read more…

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Join Us at the Energy Justice Town Hall on Jan. 12th!

 


SACE staff and several Memphis allies invite you to attend our Energy Justice Town Hall to learn why Memphians have the highest energy burdens in the country – and share your own story as we discuss suggestions for solutions.

City leaders as well as health and energy policy experts will be on hand to explain causes of energy burdens, health effects of poorly weatherized housing, current efforts to support smart low-income energy efficiency and weatherization programs and answer your questions.

Event Info: Energy Justice Town Hall this Thursday – Jan 12, 6-7:30PM, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library at 3030 Poplar Ave in Memphis.

Giveaways: MLGW will give away free small energy efficiency kits to every attendee – and 5 lucky people will receive large energy efficiency kits in a raffle at the end of the event.

Panelists will include: 

  • Patrice Robinson, Memphis City Councilwoman
  • Paul Young, Director of Memphis Office of Housing and Community Development
  • Clint Richardson, Manager of Customer Relations, MLGW
  • Linda Williams, member of MLGW Neighborhood Advisory Council
  • Susan Steppe, Director of LeBonheur, CHAMP program
  • Angela Garrone, Energy Research Attorney, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Have questions? Contact Angela Garrone with SACE at 901-827-3687 or angela@cleanenergy.org.

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Proposed Wind Power Transmission Project Would Generate $3.9 Billion for Louisiana, Mississippi

Southern Cross Transmission route under study

Southern Cross Transmission route under study

A newly released study highlights the economic benefits associated with a proposed wind powered transmission line. The Southern Cross transmission project would use high voltage direct current (HVDC) to connect wind energy from Texas to northern Mississippi and the rest of the southeast. The 400 mile power line could provide up to 2,000 megawatts of wind power from some of the best wind energy resources in the country.

The new study highlights the beneficial job and economic development impacts associated with the proposed power line. According to the study, the Southern Cross Transmission project will provide significant economic benefits within Louisiana, and Mississippi, including $3.9 billion in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact. The benefits primarily stem from construction, potential local tax revenue, and operations. Notably, the benefits from low-cost wind power associated with the transmission project were not included in the analysis, suggesting a conservative analysis.

Read more…

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Obama Administration Denies All Pending Permits for Seismic Airgun Blasting in Atlantic Ocean

This blog post is a press statement that our ally, Oceana, issued earlier today applauding the Obama Administration’s decision to protect East Coast communities and economies by denying permits for seismic airgun blasting along our Southern coasts. To view the original statement, click here.

                                                                             

WASHINGTON – Today, the Obama administration formally denied all pending permits to conduct seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. Seismic airgun blasting, an extremely loud and dangerous process used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, was originally proposed in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.

This announcement follows several recent historic moves by the Obama administration to decrease America’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, including the removal of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans from the five year program (from 2017-2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf and the permanent protection of important areas of the Atlantic and Arctic from future offshore drilling.

Oceana applauded the announcement and released the following statement from campaign director Claire Douglass: Read more…

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Where to Charge Your EV While Visiting Asheville, NC

Thomas Shults, a senior at Asheville High School, contributed to this post through research for his Senior project.

Asheville, North Carolina just topped another list of must-visit places in the USA, so it’s logical to assume that visitor traffic to the Land of Sky will continue to increase in 2017. Here at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, we hope that some of those visitors will arrive in their hybrid or electric vehicles (EV). Fortunately for EV and hybrid owners living near or traveling to Asheville, we have a network of EV charging stations in place with more on the way in 2017.

One of the best ways to find charging stations in Asheville, or anywhere around the country, is via a quick visit to PlugShare.com, which allows users to find and review charging stations, and to connect with other plug-in vehicle owners. A quick query for ‘Asheville’ shows an extensive network of publicly-accessible stations around Asheville and in surrounding counties – with a mix between stations that can be used free of charge and those that require payment as well as variations in charger speed from Level 1 (slow chargers) to Level 3 and Level 4 (fastest charger).

Read more…

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Top 3 Coal Ash Stories to Follow in 2017

2017 is shaping up to be an important year for coal ash in the Southeast. There’s so much happening at once. As utilities begin closing coal ash pits, communities and advocates are raising concerns about threats to surface and groundwater and calling on environmental agencies to ensure that our water and public health is protected.

We’ve narrowed down three critical stories to keep your eye on in 2017, and we’ll be revisiting these stories throughout the year.

Will TDEC allow TVA to sweep coal ash under the rug?

Advocates gather outside TVA's public meeting in Oak Ridge, TN to push TVA to store coal ash waste from its Bull Run plant safely.

If the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has its way, 13.4 million tons of coal ash will be left in unlined pits, some of which are inundated with groundwater. TVA is planning to close coal ash pits at four power plant sites in Tennessee by as early as 2017. TDEC must not allow TVA to get away with inadequate closure.

In August 2015, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) released a Commissioner’s Order requiring TVA to investigate its coal ash storage pits, and identify and clean up any coal ash contamination problems it discovers. If TDEC holds TVA’s feet to the fire, this order could result in improved plans that clean up coal ash by excavating it to lined landfills away from Tennessee’s waterways.

Rather than taking the common sense approach of removing toxic ash to lined landfills, TVA currently plans to leave its coal ash buried in groundwater at many of its sites, creating a continual contamination risk for Tennessee’s groundwater and surface water. Tennesseans swim, fish, boat, and play in these rivers and streams, and drinking water supplies are drawn from some of the groundwater and surface water that is currently at risk.

Read more…

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