Honoring Black History Month: Cornelia Crenshaw, Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take the time to recognize a woman who had a significant impact on the Civil Rights movement and was one of the pioneers of the Energy Justice movement. We acknowledge and honor Cornelia Crenshaw and all of her endeavors, particularly her commitment to Memphis’ African American community. Thanks to her dedication and tireless work, Memphis’ utility, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW), instituted partial payment on utility bills. By allowing partial payments, versus requiring full payment for utility bills, lower-income customers and those on a fixed income are able to keep their lights on, even if they are unable to pay the full amount due.

TVA’s Extravagant Executive Toys at Your Expense

Just when you thought the excessive executive compensation was bad, it appears that the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) CEO Bill Johnson, already the highest paid federal employee in the entire country taking home over $6.5 in total compensation in 2017, spent the last few years on a spending spree buying new corporate jets, airplanes and a luxury helicopter. Over the past two and a half years it looks like the grand total of the spending spree comes in at about $40,000,000.

Worst to First? Lifting up Tennessee Through the Proud Voter Challenge

Angela Garrone, SACE’s Southeast Energy Research Attorney contributed to this blog post.  Here in the South, we are experiencing an extreme drought in the form of elected officials who understand the importance of clean energy for our country’s future. In just the past year, wind energy development in North Carolina is under attack, and offshore drilling and seismic blasting [...]

What Could TVA Do, If No One Was Looking?

Recently, two southeastern utilities found themselves facing scandal head-on as major projects fell apart, leaving the utility – and potentially customers – covering lost costs that add up to billions of dollars. Both Southern Company’s Kemper County integrated gasification combined cycle plant and SCE&G’s VC Summer nuclear plant serve as important reminders that decision making [...]

Walking in Memphis—Just Feet Above a Coal Ash Cesspool

Memphis residents now have another reason to sing the blues. Last week, the nation’s largest public utility, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), admitted that the groundwater beneath its Allen coal-burning power plant is poisoned with astronomically high amounts of arsenic. Levels of the potent carcinogen measure nearly 400 times the federal limit for drinking water. In addition, lead in the groundwater is more than four times the standard.

A Penny Shared is a Penny Used to Lift Energy Burdens in Memphis

More often than not, Memphians rely on each other in the face of a challenge, so it’s only appropriate that now, when other options are unavailable in the short-term, Memphians are turning to each other to help lift unnecessarily high energy burdens that are contributing to an intergenerational cycle of poverty. The Share the Pennies program, which came out of a community-driven effort to find relief for burdened communities, is betting that Memphians will once again come to each other’s aid in the short-term, as we continue to fight for long-term solutions from sources outside our communities.

Memphis Wins BIG in the Solar in Your Community Challenge!

Summer is just around the corner and the sun is already shining on Memphis, TN. Five Memphis teams are moving forward to the next phase of the SunShot Prize: Solar In Your Community Challenge, a Department of Energy initiative aimed at increasing opportunities and access to solar resources in lower-income communities (The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute will administer the Challenge). Memphis is prime real estate for solar projects, thanks both to geography and the long hours of sunlight we get throughout the year. Couple that with a high number of communities living in poverty and in need of cheap power – the SunShot Challenge is a perfect fit for Memphis.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? TVA’s So-Called Coal Ash “Solution”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is planning to “clean up” 13.4 million tons of coal ash by capping it in place. Our new animation shows why cap in place is not a solution for unlined ash pits: it doesn’t keep ash separated from groundwater. Click the image on the left to watch the 30-second clip, and then [...]

Black History Month Energy Leaders Blog Series: Reverend Marlon T. Foster’s Quest for Energy Efficiency and Community Solar

A recognized and dedicated leader and pastor in South Memphis, Rev. Marlon Foster was born, raised and currently lives, works and worships in the area. Shortly after his graduation from Lemoyne-Owen College (LOC), Foster and several other residents began tutoring reading comprehension to children in the neighborhood. These were the beginnings of what is now known as Knowledge Quest (KQ), a youth and community development organization, whose mission is “to vigorously equip youth to maximize their potential through intellectual and character development”.

Smart, Prosperous and Resilient? Memphis Named as 1 of 6 Sites for New Climate, Health and Racial Equity Initiative

High energy burdens, sub-standard housing, pervasive poverty, poor public transportation access, poor access to health care and food deserts are all too common in North Memphis. Large community re-development projects in Memphis have often left communities like North Memphis behind – resulting in more divided neighborhoods and displacement of low-income and minority communities. Many are left asking – when is this ever going to change?

As it turns out, a change may be coming thanks to a novel opportunity known as the Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC). Memphis, specifically North Memphis, has been chosen as one of six SPARCC sites, along with Atlanta, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles and the San Fransisco Bay Area. The three-year SPARCC initiative is focused on fostering collaboration and could lead to multi-million investment in community driven projects.