At today’s Board of Directors’ meeting in Oxford, MS, TVA announced that it will be retiring 3,308 MWs of coal capacity from 3 plants. SACE welcomes this announcement as it signals a real movement away from dirty, coal-fired energy and toward cleaner, renewable energy across the Tennessee Valley. It is increasingly clear that coal is [...]
Yesterday, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released its seventh annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The annual report ranks states on their policy and program efforts, and provides recommendations for ways in which states can improve their energy efficiency performance. As you can see from the national map, the Southeast is still lagging behind, with [...]
To kill the Alabama’s first two wind farms, a small number of local residents is suing Pioneer Green Energy through two separate but very similar lawsuits. While these foes exhibit just about every tell-tale sign of wind farm opposition, they now appear to be borrowing a tactic from high school: plagiarism. Indeed, the lawsuit (which is available online here) mirrors a 2005 lawsuit from Texas where a small number of residents there sued to block a wind farm (text of that lawsuit is available here). By 2008, that Texas lawsuit proved to be a losing strategy on four separate occasions – in front of a trial judge, a trial by jury, by an appeals court and by the Texas Supreme Court through its refusal to reject the lower courts’ decisions. Just like in high school, the consequence of plagiarism is failure and history suggests the plagiarized Alabama lawsuits won’t make the grade.
Alabama has become a hotbed of wind energy activity. At least four different wind farms have been proposed across the Yellowhammer State – from upstate, mid-state and downstate Alabama. Alabama Power is buying 404 megawatts of wind energy from the Plains (enough to supply 3% of the company’s power), and the state’s biggest power company just erected a tiny 4 kilowatt turbine on their headquarters building in Birmingham. The flurry of activity has some people asking, “Why?” Here’s just a few reasons that may help explain the interest. State electric costs are high. The wind is better than estimated. Alabama’s Pro-Business. Wind turbines have dramatically improved. Wind energy costs are predictable.
Due to the perfect storm of stricter environmental regulations, the current state of malaise in the U.S. economy and the drastic reduction in the price of natural gas, we are beginning to see a historic reduction of reliance on coal power by Southeastern utilities. Across our region, utilities are announcing idling or retirement of their [...]
This past year APEX Wind Energy worked with private property owners in Baldwin County, Alabama to propose a 40-turbine wind farm that could power up to 23,000 average homes. On August 6th the Baldwin County Commission passed two ordinances that ban large wind turbines and wind farms. One of the major concerns raised by Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey centered around the local tourism industry.
In fact, if developed and marketed properly, the wind farm could become a thriving tourist attraction of its own.
How closely tied are Alabama Power’s coal-fired electric plants and Alabama coal mining jobs? Not very, it turns out. Despite the attempt by one elected official to link the two, the fact is that 70% of Alabama Power’s coal comes from out of state, with 15% hailing from Colombia. From 2008-2012, only about 36% of [...]
This is the ninth blog in a series featuring rivers of the Southeast endangered by toxic coal ash pollution. The rest of the series can be found here. Thanks to David Whiteside, Tennessee Riverkeeper, who contributed to this post. Just east of Knoxville, Tennessee the Holston and French Broad Rivers come together to form the [...]
Wind power could provide some jobs and income for northeastern Alabama. In Cherokee and Etowah counties, where two wind farms have been proposed, the poverty rate exceeds the national average – nearly 1 in 5 people in those counties is living in poverty. It’s not every day that a 18 megawatt and 80 megawatt wind farm gets proposed here in the South; but according to studies by Jacksonville State University, the Shinbone and Noccalula wind projects could create about 350-490 full time equivalent construction jobs, and about 36 to 53 full time jobs annually for the projects’ expected 30 year lifespans. Additionally, the projects could pay $30 million in combined new tax revenues for the counties over the projects lifespans. The Shinbone wind farm has a signed contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide power, but will still undergo rigorous environmental review this fall. According to an informal online poll, some 68% of AL.com readers are OK with wind energy companies putting wind farms in Alabama.
This blog by John Rogers, senior energy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Energy program, originally appeared on The Equation on August 8, 2013. It is part of a series on Water-Smart Power: Strengthening the U.S. Electricity System in a Warming World. A trip I just made to the Southeast included my first [...]