Memphis Wins BIG in the Solar in Your Community Challenge!

Summer is just around the corner and the sun is already shining on Memphis, TN. Five Memphis teams are moving forward to the next phase of the SunShot Prize: Solar In Your Community Challenge, a Department of Energy initiative aimed at increasing opportunities and access to solar resources in lower-income communities (The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute will administer the Challenge). Memphis is prime real estate for solar projects, thanks both to geography and the long hours of sunlight we get throughout the year. Couple that with a high number of communities living in poverty and in need of cheap power – the SunShot Challenge is a perfect fit for Memphis.

New Executive Order Threatens US Progress on Climate Action

Given his appointment of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a man with a long history of challenging health-based environmental regulations in court – President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order, released today, is not unexpected.

Cloaked in a patriotic narrative, President Trump’s executive order does more to threaten our nation’s energy independence than support it. Renewable energy has a critical role to play in strengthening our country’s energy independence, yet this executive order is aimed at weakening our ability to incorporate more clean energy resources into our national energy portfolio.

It also doubles down on the false claim that the coal industry can be saved by dialing back public health regulations. In truth, coal is being beaten in the free market by cheaper natural gas and cheap renewable energy.

Today’s executive order – coupled with the President’s recently proposed large budget cuts to the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) clean energy, smart grid and storage technology research programs – makes it clear that this Administration is not serious about protecting our health, our climate or our national security.

Smart, Prosperous and Resilient? Memphis Named as 1 of 6 Sites for New Climate, Health and Racial Equity Initiative

High energy burdens, sub-standard housing, pervasive poverty, poor public transportation access, poor access to health care and food deserts are all too common in North Memphis. Large community re-development projects in Memphis have often left communities like North Memphis behind – resulting in more divided neighborhoods and displacement of low-income and minority communities. Many are left asking – when is this ever going to change?

As it turns out, a change may be coming thanks to a novel opportunity known as the Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC). Memphis, specifically North Memphis, has been chosen as one of six SPARCC sites, along with Atlanta, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles and the San Fransisco Bay Area. The three-year SPARCC initiative is focused on fostering collaboration and could lead to multi-million investment in community driven projects.

Black History Month Energy Leaders Blog Series: Lynn Evans Becomes First African American Woman to Lead TVA Board

For the first time in its 83-year old history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has an African-American woman leading its Board of Directors. It is also the first time someone from Memphis, which is home to TVA’s largest customer Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), has held the Board chair. V. Lynn Evans was named as the new TVA Board Chair after the former TVA Board Chair, Joe Ritch, ended his term on January 3, 2017. In these polarizing times, we celebrate the fact that one of our largest utilities in the Southeast has appointed a qualified leader like Ms. Evans – and broken with history by appointing a woman to Board chair for the first time. As one local Memphis publication put it – Ms. Evans is “a ‘first’ on three fronts.”

Success! Memphis City Council Votes to Help Lift Extreme Energy Burden

At Tuesday afternoon’s Memphis City Council meeting, the Council unanimously approved a resolution that strongly recommends changing Memphis Light Gas and Water’s (MLGW) current Share the Pennies program to an “automatically enrolled” format. This small program design change, which SACE has been advocating for since Spring 2016, will help generate significantly more funding for Project Care, MLGW’s low-income home weatherization initiative – potentially generating around $1.5 million dollars per year! Additionally, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), MLGW’s wholesale power provider, has agreed to purchase any energy savings realized by the “new” Share the Pennies program, providing another valuable source of funding for a program.

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

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

Thankful for More Solar in Alabama

While the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been retiring old coal plants or investing in expensive pollution controls to keep other coal plants operational, it has primarily focused on replacing any lost generation capacity with its preferred version of “clean energy” – nuclear and natural gas. However, TVA is moving further into the renewable energy [...]

The Local Power Company of the Future?! Chattanooga’s EPB Lights the Way for Others

Imagine a world where your local power company calls you and tells you they’ve identified a potential problem with your home that is causing you to have unnecessarily high utility bills.

Imagine a representative of your local power company showing up at your front door to investigate the problem.

Imagine finding out from your power company that you have a problem with your heating and cooling system and that they are going to help fix it.

Imagine getting a lower utility bill.

Sound too good to be true? Well, the Southeast is home to a utility that is already doing this – and providing low cost internet and television service to their customers. Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) is setting a new standard of service for local power companies and SACE staff recently got a peek behind the scenes to learn more about how EPB is paving the way towards a more service oriented utility.

TGIF! Paris Climate Agreement Officially International Law

Today, the historic Paris Agreement, our first global agreement to limit carbon emissions and keep the global average temperature increase below 20C, officially became international law. Happy Friday, Earth!

192 countries signed the historic agreement, including the United States, agreeing to reduce carbon pollution at the 2015 gathering of countries engaged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. To date, 97 countries have formally joined the Paris accord, or ratified the agreement, with more countries expected to officially jump on board in the coming weeks and months.

Spotlight Shines on Extreme Energy Burdens in Memphis

This past week, national experts from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) traveled from Washington, D.C. to Memphis, TN to help shine a spotlight on the extreme energy burdens many Memphians are struggling under on a daily basis. As previously reported in a SACE blog, ACEEE identified Memphis as the most energy burdened [...]