Pruitt EPA Should Deny New Utility Move to Weaken Federal Coal Ash Rule

Like last month’s stay on the water discharge rule, a potential stay on the Coal Ash Rule extends unconscionable risk for the people who live near coal ash pits, which can rupture or leak toxics into drinking water, while pandering to corporate utilities that have gotten away with dangerous waste handling for decades.

Not one more cent! Georgia Power customers irate over Vogtle nuclear mess

Last Thursday the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) held the first hearing in the 16th semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) review, so that Georgia Power could ask for approval for $222 million in expenditures spent during the July 1 to December 31, 2016 period for their two delayed, over budget Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors under construction [...]

Hold on to your wallets – open letter to Georgia Power customers

Have you ever seen the commercial that ends with the saying “What’s in YOUR wallet?” Well if you are an electric power customer in Georgia, the answer is a nuclear power train wreck!

Please let me take a minute and share with you a little southern straight talk about what has been happening while you have been trying to make an honest living.

Georgia, South Carolina Nuclear Reactors “On Time, Under Budget”

Just kidding! April Fool’s!

I know, I know…we did this last year too, but it’s not our fault that Southern Company and SCANA offered up April Fool’s 2016 as completion dates for the first new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia and V.C. Summer in South Carolina picked April Fool’s 2017 for the next two new reactors at each site. You heard that right: roughly 4400 megawatts (MW) of new nuclear generation were supposed to be flowing through transmission lines by now.

What does Toshiba’s financial meltdown mean for new nuclear reactor projects in U.S.?

This is first in a series of blogs about Toshiba’s financial meltdown and the implications this is having on new nuclear power plant projects. Today’s blog serves as an overview.

Coverage of the still-unfolding financial meltdown of Japanese tech-mogul Toshiba has been growing since late December when the massive financial losses were first divulged. Toshiba’s much anticipated earnings report call yesterday, which was expected to shed light on the situation, was delayed with permission from Japanese regulators until March 14. Toshiba still reported extremely bad news, much larger losses than earlier predicted and the selling-off of key Toshiba assets.

How are the White House’s transportation initiatives measuring up?

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.

Seriously, utilities, buy wind NOW (yes, this year)

Really, it is time to buy wind energy. This is very simple. Wind costs less than running natural gas power plants. Keep the power plants. Use them, we’re not saying they aren’t needed. But it is cheaper to buy power from wind projects than to run your power plant full-out. Look at this amazing forecast [...]

Green Light for New Nuclear Power Continues in Georgia

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.

How much solar and wind will Georgia utility regulators allow?

Our followers on social media think the answer should be “as much as possible,” but in our brief SACE argues in favor of a cap of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, likely to be mainly solar and wind. Georgia Power has proposed only 525 MW, and other parties have signaled interest in 1,200 MW or 2,000 MW. What’s remarkable about this “debate” is that everyone involved agrees that whatever the number, Georgia Power customers will end up saving money as these projects will cost less than the projected cost of generating power. This approach to developing renewable energy has been led by Commissioner Bubba McDonald.

As Utilities Embrace Clean Energy, Southeast Needs Smart Policies to Promote Local Renewables Growth

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.