Recently, Google announced its plans to open its 14th data center – this new one in Northern Alabama. The internet giant will be building the data center inside the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) Widows Creek coal plant, which is set to retire . Google will begin construction in 2016 and is working with TVA to ensure that the data center is powered by renewable energy resources. The data center will take advantage of the existing transmission lines at the plant to bring in renewable energy.
One theme throughout Laudato Si is the juxtaposition of the “tyranny over creation” (anthropocentrism) versus a cooperation and cultivation of nature. As stated by Pope Francis, “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.” Fossil fuels including “coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay,” are specifically identified as forms of tyranny over creation. In essence, fossil fuels reinforce a consumerist mindset of prideful, greedy and gluttonous (yet, false) control over nature – that humanity can extract and consume fossil fuels on our own terms (some would say, “dispatchable generation”). Alternatively, Pope Francis’ call to a cooperative (fraternal) relationship with creation highlights potential solutions to fossil fuels; “Fraternal love can only be gratuitous…That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them.” The variability (some would say “intermittency”) of renewable energy provides an opportunity for humanity to exercise temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility with nature. Faithful Catholics may recognize the juxtaposition of mortal sins versus holy virtues.
With its ambitious 35% renewable energy goals by 2020, and with key federal tax credit incentives soon expiring, it’s possible Coca-Cola could soon join other major, responsible corporations and purchase substantial quantities of wind and solar power.
This blog is the fourth in a series from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy staff attending the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2015 Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. During American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2015 conference in Orlando this week we’ve heard about the rise of wind energy in the U.S. energy market and the [...]
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is farsighted, not shortsighted, when it comes to its efforts to evaluate and plan for solar power in its future. The 2015 Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) provides the clearest, sharpest look ever by a Southeastern utility at solar energy as a resource – and not a threat – to this amazing, clean energy opportunity. [...]
In 2013, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published Energy, Justice and Peace: A Reflection on Energy in the Current Context of Development and Environmental Protection. It wasn’t translated into English until late 2014 and must be ordered from the Vatican – it’s not an easy book to get ahold of. The Council is appointed by the pope, and its primary charge is “to engage in action-oriented studies based on both the papal and episcopal social teaching of the Church.” The Council’s work offers a credible sneak peek into Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical. Listed below are a few major themes from the book.
In honor of Black History Month - SACE is publishing a blog series highlighting the efforts of African American leaders working to ensure that clean energy opportunities are available for all people and communities in the Southeast. This post is the second in the series; find additional posts here. As one of the founding principals of a successful [...]
SACE Staffers Charlie Coggeshall and George Cavros contributed to this blogpost. It’s been a good run for solar power in Florida in the past few weeks. First, Gulf Power Company announced plans for 120 megawatt (MW) of solar power purchase agreements on 3 military bases; shortly thereafter Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced that it [...]
Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes just took a big step toward removing a major roadblock to more solar development in the Sunshine State. He filed a measure that would end burdensome taxes on solar power. The resolution to amend the state constitution would exempt renewable energy devices from the state’s tangible personal property tax. The [...]
You can access previous SACE blogs on the Clean Power Plan by clicking the following links: May 28th, June 23rd, July 30th, and August 25th. You can also access a recent SACE webinar that explains the specifics of the Clean Power Plan and opportunities for the Southeast here. December 1st marked the end of the [...]