Youth Leading on Climate Action

Young people have been leading the fight against climate change in impressive and inspiring ways in recent months. To highlight the work of young people working on climate action, SACE has organized a mini webinar series to profile the work of two organizations in particular that are engaging youth and making an impact on the national dialogue on climate action.

We held the first of these two webinars last week, when we hosted Students for Carbon Dividends (S4CD), which is a coalition of  more than 30 Republican, Democratic, and environmental college student groups advocating for putting a price on carbon. S4CD’s president, Alex Posner, joined us for the webinar to talk about their work and what they hope to achieve. You can watch a recording of the webinar on our Youtube channel here or click on the embedded video below. S4CD launched this spring in order to help propel the Baker-Shultz carbon dividends plan into the national spotlight, and the group’s launch received extensive media coverage. Alex explained that the Baker-Shultz carbon dividends plan is one specific type of carbon dividends plan that is more appealing to conservatives because it would simultaneously put a price on carbon but also eliminate federal regulations on carbon pollution, whereas other carbon dividends plans do not necessarily address federal carbon regulations [editorial note: SACE does not endorse any specific carbon pricing plan, but presents different options for public education]. Through its work, S4CD is hoping to build a popular base of support among young people, and especially young conservatives, to support a national policy to put a price on carbon. Read more…

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When was your car’s last tune up? Maintaining vehicles is better for efficiency

Yesterday marked the mid-point of the year (can you believe 2018 is officially half way over?) so it’s as good a time as any to make sure your vehicle has recently had a regular service check to insure your vehicle is safe and efficient.* Through regular “tune-ups,” your vehicle should reach the best mileage and lowest emissions it can achieve without any major additions to the vehicle – saving you money and reducing air pollution for everyone!

Regular service to a vehicle should include:

“Celebrate My Drive: Check Your Tire Pressure” by State Farm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Checking tire pressure: For all vehicles on the road – electric vehicles, gasoline powered cars or hybrids – inflating to proper tire pressure is an easy way to get more mileage from your vehicle. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure for proper inflation, listed in the vehicle owner’s manual.

Regular oil changes: For those driving gasoline-powered cars, having an oil change every 5,000 miles (or as your manufacturer recommends) makes sure your vehicle’s engine is well lubricated and cooled, resulting in more efficient fuel combustion. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommended oil for proper viscosity, listed in the vehicle owner’s manual.

Changing spark plugs: The key to combustion in the engine, spark plugs should be changed every 20,000 – 30,000 miles, depending on the make/model of your car and your plugs. A good spark plug means better combustion of fuel inside the engine, resulting in fewer emissions and more miles-per-gallon.

Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 29

This week as we gear up for Independence Day celebrations, it’s a great time to consider the Independence that electric vehicles provide!  They offer Independence from foreign oil, Freedom from disastrous oil spills on our beaches and land, Independence from high priced gasoline and Freedom from carbon dioxide pollution with zero emissions!  We hope that you get a chance to see some celebratory fireworks, have some apple pie, and get to hear Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Was Made for You and Me”.

This week in electric vehicle news, Volkswagen’s EV race car became king of the mountain and made history by finishing The Pikes Peak Hill Climb in under eight minutes!  Volvo is also busy trailblazing.  The company announced the XC40 will be their first all-electric model and will roll out in 2019.  The crossover will pave the way for Volvo’s 100% ‘electrified’ goal.  Heavy-duty truck maker Cummins has announced they are expanding their commitment (they announced an electric semi-truck last year) to electric by entering the electric bus market.   Read more…

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Florida municipal solar highlights first half of 2018

As we approach the middle of 2018, it seems appropriate to reflect on the first half of the year. We’ve seen some big solar projects announced so far this year like the 200 megawatt (MW) project in central Georgia that will be the largest solar farm east of the Mississippi River. But what really stands out to me as a highlight is the set of three projects, a total of 223.5 MW, announced by the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA).

We congratulated FMPA at the time of their announcement.

SACE congratulates FMPA for its impressive addition to solar development in the Sunshine State. With this announcement, SACE projects that Florida’s municipal utilities would collectively have approximately 580 MW of utility-scale solar power by 2021, putting them ahead of North Carolina’s municipal utilities which are anticipated to have 522 MW of solar by 2021.

In addition to the collective progress of FMPA, I also want to acknowledge the solar leadership of the 12 municipal utilities themselves. Earlier this year, we used a watts per customer solar ratio to rank current and projected solar penetration in our Solar in the Southeast Annual Report. The new FMPA announcement will be reflected in our next annual report, but I’m offering this preliminary preview of how those results may look.

Read more…

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Join us for Solar Sundae Fundraiser in Asheville on July 8

Solar Sundae is back and better than ever!

Join the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy on July 8th, from 12-4PM for a beer at Highland Brewing Company. For every pint sold, $1 goes to supporting clean energy. New this year will be an ice cream sundae bar and ice cream beer floats (yes this is a thing!) provided by Ultimate Ice Cream Company. We are also excited to have a new event partner — Roots Hummus — who will be displaying their company Tesla and giving out hummus samples. This is a family friendly event, so bring the little ones. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to have fun in the sun and raise funds for clean energy.

When: July 8, 12-4PM

Where: Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Hwy, Ste 200, Asheville, NC 28803 (in the meadow if weather is nice; in the indoor taproom if it rains)

RSVP & SHARE our event on Facebook here.

Can’t attend but still want to support clean energy? PLEASE consider giving to SACE by clicking here.

Special thanks to our gracious event hosts, Highland Brewing Company, for inviting us back for a second year. We’re also thrilled to be partnering in July with Ultimate Ice Cream as their “flavor of the month” charity for the third year running. Lastly, having Roots Hummus come on as a new partner for this years’ event is a welcomed addition to this growing tradition of supporting clean energy and local businesses. Please consider supporting these businesses when you find yourself in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Worst Solar Year Since 2011? TVA on Track for an Embarrassing Record Low

Here we are, just about half way through the year. School is out for the summer, 4th of July picnic plans are in full swing, and the days are long and sunny. Many power companies throughout the Southeast are taking advantage of that sunshine with ever-growing solar portfolios, as we reported in our Solar in the Southeast Report earlier this year. The Tennessee Valley Authority, however, is failing miserably. SACE, along with other members of the Tennesseans for Solar Choice coalition, hosted a press conference last Thursday, Summer Solstice 2018 to raise the alarm on TVA’s continued lack of solar progress and broken solar programs. [Audio of the full press conference, including a question and answer portion at the end, can be found HERE]

 

As TVA forges ahead on a path to the worst solar year since 2011, the poor performance seems to be a deliberate mismanagement and slowing of TVA’s own solar programs. TVA has three programs for solar: Green Power Providers (GPP) for residential and small businesses, Distributed Solar Solutions (DSS) for larger community scale solar in partnership with Local Power Companies, and large scale solar through a Request For Proposals (RFP) process.

The Tennesseans for Solar Choice coalition is questioning TVA’s commitment to their own programs. Despite being halfway through the year, recent data from GTM Research show less than 2 megawatts (MW) of solar were installed in the first quarter, and year-to-date applications for residential and small business solar are down 73 percent from where they were a year ago. RFP contracts were expected to be awarded in the first quarter 2018, but this has not yet happened. Despite some hopeful hints at progress, such as the recent announcement that TVA is working with Facebook in Huntsville, AL, it appears that TVA has been using their monopoly power to choke off the pipeline for future solar projects, with one of the most dramatic examples being that, halfway through the year, the Distributed Solar Solutions program for 2018 has yet to be announced.

Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 22

Happy Friday!  Yesterday, we celebrated the longest day of the year and feel blessed with plentiful sunshine that can power our homes AND our cars.  This week, SACE’s Dory Larsen attended one of the leading EV conferences in the country, EV Roadmap, hosted annually by Forth.  Forth is leading electric mobility efforts in the northwest U.S.  This year’s conference highlighted the Transportation Electrification Accord, which we wrote about earlier in the week here.

In other key news this week, the ride-sharing company, Uber,  announced a new EV pilot program. They will work with seven cities in the U.S. to expand electric vehicles and EV charging. UPS is also expanding its EV fleet. They placed a new order of 950 Workhorse electric delivery trucks.

In infrastructure news, Tesla Opens its 10,000th Supercharger. The company has been adding 14 charging stalls per day to its network for the last 7 months. Georgia Power also continues to offer rebates for installing charging stations at your homes and businesses. To get the details, click here. Read more…

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Staff Update: Happy Summer Solstice!

Hear from SACE’s Executive Director, Dr. Stephen A. Smith, on the 2018 Summer Solstice.

Transportation Electrification Accord Launched

Today, the Transportation Electrification Accord (Accord) was officially launched in Portland, Oregon at the EV Roadmap 11 conference. The Transportation Electrification Accord is a set of guiding principles for promoting transportation electrification.

Why is it needed?

The transportation sector is now the #1 source of carbon emissions in the United States, and transportation electrification offers an immediate opportunity to cut those emissions and to support the electricity grid.  The principles outlined in the Accord provide guidance for utilities, utility regulators, and local and state decision makers about how transportation electrification can be advanced to benefit all utility customers and users of all forms of transportation.

Electrifying the transportation sector provides multiple benefits to all consumers (including the socioeconomically disadvantaged). Based on local analysis, expanding the number of electric vehicles can create new jobs and income for states, as well as provide grid services, and cut air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Not only should more consumers adopt electric vehicles (EVs), but there are increasing options for transitioning medium and heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses and delivery trucks, which emit high levels of harmful pollutants in the air. This offers significant opportunities for municipalities, state fleets and businesses to transition their fleets, save millions of dollars on fuel and maintenance costs and reduce their environmental impacts. Read more…

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Electric Vehicle Weekly News Roundup – June 15

Today marks the kickoff of one of the world’s most unifying events, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA World Cup in Russia!  I’m hoping to see some electric car ads while cheering along.  Still looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift? How about an Iceland national team shirt?  We may as well throw some support to the underdog nation as America is not in the cup this year.  While we’re cheering them on with friends, be sure you share some of this week’s EV news:

 

Team Volvo
Volvo is predicting half of their registrations to be full-electric by the mid-2020s.  This week Volvo announced new financial and operational ambitions including far more electrification, subscription service offerings, and a pivot away from traditional industry events.  

Team Kia
Could the Kia Niro EV be the next best selling EV?  The South Korean SUV is looking to be a game changer! With two trims offering 236 or 149 all-electric miles it’s surely one to watch.

Team Tesla
Tesla has announced $100/kWh Tesla battery cells this year and $100/kWh Tesla battery packs in 2020 which would mean EVs will be able to competitively compete in the ‘economy’ range of the market (around the $15,000 price point) by 2023.

Also, Tesla is currently recycling all of its spent batteries and intends to do more using a closed-loop system for battery recycling at all production plants.  

Team Honda
Check out this blog interview with Melissa, a proud new owner of a Honda Clarity. Read her testimony of the benefits of this plug-in hybrid vehicle which has a 48-mile all-electric range.

Team Texas
Texas has reinstated incentives for electric and alternative fuel cars!  Here’s hoping this welcome news will spread to nearby states and we will see a return of Georgia’s tax credit in 2019 too.

Team Georgia
Mark your calendars!  Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols is hosting the Clean Energy Roadshow. Upcoming dates and more information are available here.

Team USA
Has your senator ever driven an electric car? Does your senator know how fun it is to drive electric, how quiet the cars are, and how smooth the acceleration is? Now is his/her chance! Our partners at Plug In America are hosting a ride and drive on June 28th on Capitol Hill.  Encourage your senator to attend the event and learn more about why electric transportation is good for the economy and the environment.  

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