http://www.cleanenergy.org/2008/10/11/concerned-citizens-urge-switch-from-coal/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Concerned Citizens Urge Switch from Coal

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Douglasville, Ga. – In response to a proposal for a new coal-fired power plant, amidst rising energy and coal prices and a failing U.S. economy, a group of concerned customers today attended the Greystone Power Corporation annual meeting. EMC members demanded that the electric cooperative move away from investing in coal and instead shift money into smarter, clean energy sources that will secure energy rates and create new jobs.

The group, calling themselves West Georgians for Clean Energy, challenged Greystone’s decision to invest in a new coal plant in partnership with Power4Georgians LLC based on economic, public health and environmental concerns.

“With the economic crisis, ratepayers cannot afford to spend millions in a polluting coal plant,” said Ashley Simpson, a member of West Georgians for Clean Energy. “Right now coal is simply a poor investment that will drive our rates up. There are better options that Greystone Power should be investing in than coal.”

With a price tag of $2.1 billion and rising, the Washington County coal plant is a bad deal for Greystone cooperative’s customers. Experts expect the current price tag for the Washington County coal plant is vastly underestimated. While coal and coal plants are becoming increasingly expensive, the price of renewable energy, such as wind, has declined, and according to data from the federal government, now costs even less than coal in some cases. A study by researchers at Georgia Tech shows that Georgia has significant offshore wind resources just waiting to be tapped. Other solutions to energy needs, such as energy efficiency, are so inexpensive to implement, they can’t compare to coal-fired power plant expenses.

“Transitioning to a clean energy economy benefits ratepayers, our economy, our health and our environment,” stated Lee Graham, a Greystone EMC citizen member. “It’s time we stop looking out for the coal industry’s interests and start looking out for our own.”

Transitioning to clean energy sources will not only secure energy rates, but also help protect public health. Building new coal plants will only worsen asthma-causing air pollution as well as toxic mercury pollution. Coal-fired power plants are the largest point sources of mercury pollution in the U.S., which is known to cause brain damage and other developmental problems in unborn children and infants. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization thatpromotes responsible energy choices that create global warmingsolutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughoutthe Southeast.