Jobs, $$$, and Clean Energy: Solar Company Investing Big in South Carolina

South Carolina got a major announcement on Thursday, when solar energy development company Cypress Creek Renewables proposed a major investment in the Palmetto State. Cypress Creek announced they aim to build 2,000 megawatts of solar in SC over the next 3-5 years, which is enough to power about 600,000 homes. This amount of solar means a $1.5 billion investment in our state by a single solar company, and up to 10,000 construction jobs over the 3-5 year build out period. The buildout is reported to be spread among 80 sites, which likely means many localities–predominantly rural–would benefit by the development in the form of local jobs, and revenue from property taxes.

Clemson Goes Big With Wind Turbine Testing

Yesterday Clemson University announced they’d landed a big deal for testing a huge wind turbine. The world’s most powerful wind turbine, the MHI Vestas V164-9.5 MW, will be tested at Clemson’s world-class energy innovation center in North Charleston, SC. The facility, equipped with large test rigs, will be able to simulate 20+ years worth of field conditions on the turbines and measure their response and interaction with the grid in just a few years’ time, and then MHI Vestas will be able to optimize the turbines’ performance and reliability. The Clemson-MHI Vestas partnership, a $35 million investment, is a big step forward in realizing the economic potential of offshore wind for South Carolina and the Southeast.

Trump Admin Begins Rollback of Clean Power Plan

Following through on a campaign promise, the Trump administration signed a rule this week to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. An historic public health regulation, which wasn’t scheduled to begin implementation until 2022, the Clean Power Plan was projected to save Americans $12 billion to $34 billion in health cost savings.

By setting modest carbon reduction goals and providing maximum compliance flexibility, including carbon reductions achieved through increased use of natural gas and nuclear, the Clean Power Plan established a balance of environmental and economic development goals. In fact, the rule would have provided relief in the form of utility bill savings, with an estimated $7/month savings realized by 2030 thanks to reduction in power demand thanks to increased energy efficiency.

Nuclear cancellation fallout in South Carolina

The last few days have been a whirlwind in the South Carolina energy realm with the announcement of abandonment of the under-construction nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer power plant. Here is a brief description of what’s been going on from SACE’s point of view.

New Climate Movie Great Way To Inspire Action

An Inconvenient Truth, released in 2006, was the first major Hollywood film about climate change and was undoubtedly a turning point in the American story of climate action. The movie, a double Academy Award winner, was viewed by millions of people who hadn’t ever given so much thought to the topic and educated people about both the problems we face ahead with global warming, and also inspired many to begin pursing solutions. Now more than 10 years later, the team that brought us the movie is releasing a sequel, called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, to be released nationwide next Friday, August 4. The movie is sure to be an excellent conversation starter with those new to the intricacies of this topic and diehard climate action advocates alike. The movie will be showing in dozens of cities around the Southeast (partial list below), so check here to see where the movie will be playing in a theater near you.

Massive Iceberg Calves, Reminding Us Of Ever-Increasing Temps

This week, the world witnessed the calving of an iceberg the enormity of which is rare. The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica had a growing rift for years, that finally completed its path to the ocean and broke off a huge chunk of ice. The iceberg weighs 1 trillion tons and is roughly the size of Delaware. This event serves as a critical reminder of the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming.

President Trump Threatens America’s Shores

Last week, the Trump Administration pushed its careless agenda to threaten America’s shores with risky offshore drilling despite overwhelming opposition from coastal Republicans and Democrats alike. The announcement came in the form of a “Request for Information,” which kickstarts the process of the Administration offering leases for offshore areas around the country to companies to use for oil and gas development. This move is an affront to the thousands of businesses, 125 local governments, and citizens who have stood up to reject offshore drilling in favor of our coastal economy and quality of life. While the tenant of the White House has changed in the past year, the facts that make offshore drilling a bad deal for the American public have not.

Trump’s Climate Move Way Out Of Touch

President Trump today announced his long-awaited decision on whether or not to honor the United States’ responsibility laid out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. In the agreement, the United States pledged to the international community that it would do its part to prevent catastrophic global warming. Today, President Trump reneged on this pledge as he signaled intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. With this act, President Trump has betrayed American interests, failed commitments to key U.S. allies, and abandoned our nation’s moral obligation to take responsibility for our actions.

Beginning of Hurricane Season Reminds Us: Prepare for Climate Disaster

Today is the first day of Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued their forecast for the 2017 hurricane season, which indicates that this hurricane season will most likely have above-normal or near-normal activity. In addition to this day serving as a reminder to make sure your household is prepared for a hurricane, it is also a good time to think about how climate change affects hurricanes and what we can do to mitigate the worst impacts.

100+ Members of Congress Sign Letter: “No Drilling off Our Coast”

Yesterday, Congressman Mark Sanford co-led a bipartisan sign on letter of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to uphold recently made guidelines, barring offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. 109 Members of Congress co-signed the letter, indicating faith that the recently completed plan, covering the years of 2017-2022, was carried out with diligence and reflects the will of Atlantic and Pacific coast residents. We wish to thank Congressman Sanford and the many Members of Congress from our region who signed onto the letter.