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 [...]

Memphians Ask TVA for Energy Efficiency Solutions to Extreme Energy Burdens

This blog is the second in a series SACE is publishing on recent energy efficiency meetings between TVA and community members all across the Tennessee Valley. The first blog, focusing on TVA customers in rural East Tennessee, can be found here.  As part of a statewide organizing effort, communities across Tennessee are meeting with Tennessee [...]

Solar for Low-income Communities and More! EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program

Southeastern states may soon have an added incentive for developing energy efficiency and renewable energy resources that directly benefit low-income communities and utility customers. These potential new incentives come in the form of draft federal regulatory language, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to finalize as part of the entire rulemaking process for the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

This program, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), is an early-action, voluntary piece of the larger CPP aimed at ensuring communities who suffered the negative effects of fossil-fuel energy generation and economically disadvantaged communities see real benefits from increased clean energy development. Although utilities, state agencies, industry, and the general public have all weighed in on pieces of the CEIP in previous CPP related comment period, the current EPA document open for comment will become the official design details for the CEIP. Comments can be sent directly to EPA (info on how to do that here) and are due by 11:59pm, Monday, August 29th.

EPA Moves Forward As Harvard Recognizes Billions of “Hidden” Clean Power Plan Benefits

Despite the setback delivered by the Supreme Court’s stay, action around the Clean Power Plan has not disappeared. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency’s historic regulation is on the verge of another public input period and is also the focus of a recent Harvard study.

What’s more, EPA has a new proposal out and an upcoming public comment period related to the voluntary early-action piece of the Clean Power Plan, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). After hearing from stakeholders during a previous public comment period that ended in mid-December 2015, EPA has made some significant changes to the proposed CEIP. Most importantly, EPA has expanded the range of projects eligible for CEIP participation to include solar projects implemented to serve low-income communities.

TVA to Demolish Alabama Coal Plant to Make Way for Google’s “Clean” Data Center

The Tennessee Valley Authority is ready to move ahead with plans to demolish it’s Widows Creek coal plant located in Stevenson, Alabama. In accordance with environmental regulations, TVA analyzed environmental impacts associated with various demolition and closure options and released it’s Final Environmental Impact Statement in early June.

TVA will use controlled explosions to raze Units 1-8 at the plant and will work to ensure all hazardous materials and potential safety hazards are removed. Demolition will begin in late 2017, making way for the much heralded Google Data Center that will be built at the former coal plant site. Google announced it’s plans to build its 14th data enter back in June 2015 and plans to power the facility with 100% renewable energy. The data center will provide 75-100 new full-time jobs and is a welcome economic development opportunity for Northern Alabama.

Sen. Alexander: Enough With the Hot Air, Stop Bashing Wind Power

Yet again, Tennessee senior senator, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), has channelled his inner Don Quixote and is tilting at windmills – well, wind turbines to be exact. Just this week he took to the senate floor in Washington, D.C. to bash wind energy using his same old outdated arguments. Sen. Alexander has now set his sites on a proposed wind farm in Cumberland County, TN.

In his latest anti-wind campaign, Sen. Alexander used a photo of a poorly planned Palm Springs, CA wind project to bolster his claim that the proposed Crab Orchard Wind Project, pursued by Apex Clean Energy, would ruin the scenic views and environment in Cumberland County. But where is Sen. Alexander’s outrage with actual projects in Tennessee that are currently ruining communities scenic views and threatening the surrounding environment???

Eyes on the Prize: EPA Moves Forward on Clean Energy Despite Paused Clean Power Plan

As April came to an end, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a strong signal that it wasn’t going to let the current political and legal battle keep it from moving some of the voluntary parts of the Clean Power Plan forward.

EPA sent a proposal related to the voluntary early-action incentive program, known as the Clean Energy Incentive Program, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review – the next step in the policy-making process. EPA recognizes that technological innovation in the clean energy sector is driving development of clean energy resources and if EPA wants to keep pace with the growing science, it must continuing moving forward. Utilities and regulators should take a cue from EPA and continue to work together to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the Southeast’s electricity sector – or risk being left behind.