Even utilities in our notoriously coal-dependent Southeast are getting in on the action. Duke Energy, one of the two biggest utilities in our region, in late April announced plans to increase its renewable energy capacity to 8,000 megawatts by 2020, up by one-third over previous targets. “We’re finding that it’s competitive” on a cost basis, Duke Energy company spokesman Randy Wheeless has said of renewables. “It makes good business sense.” The Atlanta-based Southern Company, parent company of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power, intends to exceed its previously announced renewables totals for 2017 and 2018 and just bought a North Carolina company, PowerSecure, that focuses on distributed generation—smaller-scale local power often provided by renewable sources—along with energy efficiency. NextEra Energy, based in Juno, Florida and the parent of that state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL), is a national leader in wind power development. “We continue to believe that the fundamentals for the North American renewables business have never been stronger,” NextEra Executive Vice President of Finance and CFO John Ketchum said on an April 28th earnings call.
This year may be the biggest year for wind energy in the South. A number of factors are working together to create a massive market for wind energy all across the country. Some of the important factors include: technology has significantly improved, utilities are becoming more familiar with integrating wind energy, key federal tax incentives have been renewed and utilities are beginning to hedge against risks associated with fossil fuels.
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.
When it comes to keeping kids safe and healthy, SACE member Dr. Yolanda Whyte knows that it takes more than a visit to the pediatrician. She is devoted to raising the alarm about the source of many health problems, especially for children of color and those who live in low-income areas: environmental toxics in our air and water. She graciously agreed to be interviewed for SACE’s Black History Month series.
The renewable energy industry had a powerful ally in the last few years, and 2015 in particular: the corporation. As prices in wind and solar have fallen, support for these technologies in the commercial & industrial (C&I) sector has swelled. In 2015, C&I buyers invested in more than 3 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity. Google alone purchased nearly a gigawatt of new wind and solar projects in 2015, making them the largest institutional buyer of renewable energy in the world.
Last week, in a crowded middle school auditorium in Wilmington, North Carolina, over 130 local residents and environmental advocates joined together to speak out in favor of clean energy in North Carolina. They were attending the final of three public hearings held by North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to seek public comment on [...]
In the 2015 Southeast Coal Roundup blog series, we are happy to report that the transition away from coal in the Southeast continues – cleaning up our air, water and atmosphere and leaving room for development of more renewable energy generation resources and more robust implementation of energy efficiency measures. Retiring and removing these old, dirty coal units from service will help to improve Southerners’ way of life by improving the overall public health and saving ratepayers from bearing the burden of expensive coal plant retrofit investments. Our first blog in the series covered the Tennessee Valley Authority’s movement away from coal. Now gather around the campfire to learn about Southern Company’s coal fleet.
Today we honor and express our thanks to America’s veterans for their public service and dedication to protecting the United States. Furthermore, we wish to give a special recognition to our veterans who once advanced our nation’s military goals and are now advancing our nation’s domestic goals in the solar industry. There is a special [...]
The final Clean Power Plan is structured to create thousands more new jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency, with incentives to create good jobs in vulnerable communities. It recommends robust standards to ensure that the new jobs lead to quality careers. The Clean Power Plan and related initiatives also contain vital protections for coal workers and communities. The EPA and DOE have both acted to help ensure that unions, affected workers, and their communities will be treated as stakeholders whose views are heard and reflected in the state processes to create implementation plans. What’s more, the plan addresses concerns from affected unions about ensuring our power system is reliable, the timeline for compliance, and emissions reduction credits for manufacturing processes such as combined heat and power.
Polling has consistently shown that Latino and Hispanic voters support action to combat climate change. Polling conducted by Latino Decisions, in partnership with Earthjustice and GreenLatinos, found that Latinos, more than other Americans, see climate change as a consequence of human activity – with almost two-thirds accepting anthropogenic explanations of climate change.
That same polling also showed that many Latinos are willing to put their money where their mouth is, accepting anywhere from a $5 – $10 increase in monthly utility bulls to help hasten the transition to clean, renewable energy sources. Most notably, Latino Decisions’ polling found that the majority of those polled do not accept the argument that environmental improvements come at the cost of a decreasing job market – 59% believe renewable energy and environmental reform is good for economic opportunity and job growth.