Deep in Louisiana’s Cajun Country, there’s a renewable energy research center dedicated to studying solar energy and biopower. And it smells like barbecue. Located in Crowley, Louisiana, the Cleco Alternative Energy Center is sponsored by Cleco Power, LLC, and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
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.
Late on November 7th, a local Lafayette, Louisiana newspaper (The Independent) posted a story: “About-face: LUS seeks repeal of ‘solar tax’ ordinance”. Lafayette is restoring its smart solar policy!
But this past August, our local electric utility company passed perhaps the worst solar power policy in the south. Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) introduced an extremely complicated electric, water and sewer rate increase the same week historic, 1,000-year flooding occurred in Louisiana. The new rate structure for net metered customers, including solar power families like mine, is likely to double monthly electric bills, and double the length of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. The new policy effectively acts as a giant tax on solar power. Solar tax credits are being phased out, and when coupled with LUS’s new solar tax, it is unlikely that solar power systems would ever pay for themselves.
Wind farm development in the south has been slow. At one time, the sauntering southern breezes seemed too sluggish to harness for wind farm development. Research, meteorology and advanced wind turbine technology have finally enabled economic wind farm development in the south. Two southern cultural references, mixed with some new science, help explain why wind [...]
Fad wind turbines bad-mouth utility-scale wind farms, and then frequently fail to live up to their promises. That’s bad news for renewable energy. People can get misled into a false techno-optimism, that we should delay using today’s technologies because the future technology will be perfected, if we just wait a little longer. One positive aspect from the QZ.com article is it points out that a residential solar array costs about half as much as the wind tree. One thing the article doesn’t mention is that residential solar panels can achieve 20-30% capacity factors, or 4-5x higher performance than the wind tree (at 5%). At half the price and 4-5x the performance, residential solar panels are way, way better investments than the wind tree.
The LBNL report tracks trends in cost and performance among other metrics for the wind energy industry nationwide. Just over 5% of all electricity generated in the country comes from wind power. The average installed price for wind energy capacity is down 24% in just five years.
About a third of the state has been impacted and the disaster is ongoing. I can’t list every single charity that folks should donate to, or assist. United Way (HERE), Catholic Charities (HERE), Baton Rouge Area Foundation (HERE), a list from Times-Picayune (HERE) and Weather Channel (HERE). If you know of additional resources, please feel free [...]
The Green Party recently announced its 2016 presidential candidate: Dr. Jill Stein. Stein was the party’s nominee in 2012, but this year she hopes to benefit from higher levels of voter discontent in order to lead her to the White House. The Green Party has developed a “four pillar” platform based on “peace, ecology, social justice and democracy.” While this blog is not meant to be a comprehensive assessment of Dr. Jill Stein’s stance on energy issues, we hope it provides a general overview for evaluating where she may stand on issues of interest to energy-focused voters: coal, climate change, renewables, efficiency, natural gas, nuclear and drilling.
This post is the second in a series of blogs examining where 2016 candidates for President or Governor of North Carolina stand on key energy issues. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.