A new report, released on November 16, explains the concerning weaknesses of Georgia’s water pollution permits. When these permits are inevitably strengthened to limit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxic discharges from Georgia Power’s power plants, it will make even less economic sense to run Plant Hammond – and Georgia’s water will be safer. The [...]
Georgia has a number of tax exemptions that could potentially apply to solar and other electric power generation projects. One that can really impact project economics is Georgia’s tangible personal property tax exemption for manufacturers. Whether or not that exemption applies to power projects, including solar and wind projects, is a tricky question – there is no clear line for power project eligibility. As of about a year ago, Georgia stopped giving advance approval (or denial) of eligibility for the exemption. And Georgia does not give written opinions regarding eligibility.
Three years ago, the Obama Administration outlined their goals for “Building a 21st – Century Transportation Sector” in their Climate Action Plan. The goal of the plan included increasing fuel economy standards and expanding advanced transportation technologies. We’ve come a long way in those few short years. The Administration has dramatically increased fuel economy standards for our cars, which aims to achieve a 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) fleetwide average by 2025. Through this initiative alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold (MY 2012-2025) will be cut, save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Just last week, new rules to dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions were also finalized.
On the heels of giving Georgia Power the go-ahead to explore building possibly two nuclear reactors at an undeveloped site in Stewart County along the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, today the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved an additional $160 million in expenditures for the at least 39-month delayed nuclear expansion of Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro along the Savannah River. It’s important to note that Commissioner McDonald was the sole dissenting vote on the Stewart Co. decision, responsibly mentioning concerns not only about harm to utility customers but also about negative impacts to the Chattahoochee, which is at the center of the decades long Tri-State Water War among Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
The saga of one of the last two proposed new conventional coal-fired power plants in the nation continued to approach its inevitable end this spring, as the air quality permit’s deadline to commence construction passed with no shovels in sight, and plant developer Power4Georgians (P4G) requested yet another extension.
If the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) denies the extension, it could be the end of a long, long road that wasn’t wise to go down in the first place. And it would prevent any further waste of scarce agency resources.
Memorial Day reminds us that those in the military serve and sacrifice everyday to keep our nation strong. We at SACE believe that the military’s work to address the effects of climate change and to advance energy security is a critical part of that strength and we wish to highlight the important work they are doing in this area.
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.
Environmental regulators in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have so far failed to strengthen state policies to at least match EPA’s federal minimum standards for coal ash handling and storage.
2016 is the year to act on wind power in a big way and the clock is ticking. At the end of 2015, Congress passed a long-term phaseout of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy – a key federal incentive for the industry that continues to drive down the cost of wind energy.
Because of the PTC phaseout, there is a real urgency for wind farm development to begin as soon as possible. Electric utilities that delay purchase of wind energy resources may end up losing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in ratepayer savings due to a reduction in the federal PTC value.