SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

May 2009


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May 2009

1.SACE web survey

2. Georgia utilities back out of proposed coal plant
3. Weakened climate legislation moves forward
4.New report demonstrates Southeast’s renewable energy potential
5. The fight for renewable energy in Florida

6. Video postcard requests clean energy

7. EarthFare shoppers help support clean energy

8.Upcoming Events

1. SACE web survey

SACE is interested in learning more about YOU! We’ve developed a very brief survey to help us learn about the people who visit our website and read our blog. Please click here to take the quick, 10-question survey.

Take our survey

2. Georgia utilities back out of proposed coal plant

Earlier this month, four of Georgia’s Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) publicly withdrew from Power4Georgians’ proposed Plant Washington, an 850MW coal-fired power plant planned for Washington County, Ga. Their withdrawal represents a significant victory for SACE and our partners campaigning to halt the construction of the coal plant. The departure of two of the most influential EMCs — Greystone Power Corp. and Coal PlantJackson EMC – along with Excelsior and Diverse Power EMCs eliminates significant investment and ownership stake in the plant’s construction. Partners explain their reason for backing out of the proposal is due to “uncertain regulatory climate.” With pending federal climate legislation and the associated risks to utilities and their customers for emitting carbon dioxide, building new coal plants may not be a viable option for these utilities. SACE has worked with local groups and Georgians for Smart Energy to oppose the plant since its inception. In December 2008, SACE released a report, The Risks of Building and Operating Plant Washington, detailing the considerable risks involved in Plant Washington and the financial benefits of embracing energy efficiency and clean energy alternatives. We are calling on the remaining EMCs still partnered with Power4Georgians to follow suit and leave dirty coal behind. Visit our website to learn more about our campaign against Plant Washington and check out our recent related blog posts, "Plant Washington Takes Serious Blow as Investors Pull out,” and “Possible Corruption at the Helm of Proposed Georgia Coal-fired Power Plant.”

3. Weakened climate legislation moves forward

It wasn’t easy, but the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, earned enough votes to gain initial approval by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in late May. The plan centers on a national renewable electricity standard and a cap-and-trade program to reduce global warming pollution. However, these provisions have fallen victim to utilities’ attempts to weaken the bill, reducing the benefits provided to families and businesses. The American Clean Energy and Security Act will move forward with weaker renewable energy targets and massive giveaways to utilities. To learn more about the bill, view SACE’s statement to the media on May 22 or check out our latest blog posts, “Waxman-Markey Zeros Renewable Energy Standard, Drops Efficiency Sharply,” and “House Committee Votes on Climate Legislation.” Also, click here to read SACE’s position on the bill and stay tuned as we pursue opportunities to make this bill strong enough to address climate change, grow our economy through green jobs and increase our security.

4. New report demonstrates Southeast’s renewable energy potential

A new report shows that southeastern states seeking solutions to energy challenges have a major opportunity in harnessing local renewable energy resources. According to new joint findings by the World Resources Institute (WRI), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and Southface, more than 25 percent of the Southeast U.S. region’s electric power could come from locally-available renewable energy supplies by 2025. The report, Local Clean Power, is a regional assessment that draws on recent WRI Issue Briefsgovernment and regional studies to help prompt policy action to develop renewable energy resources in the Southeast. Estimates in the report show that investments in biomass, solar, wind, and hydropower can meet both the energy needs of the region and be sufficient to meet national targets being discussed as part of upcoming federal energy legislation. Enacting a national policy that requires energy production from renewable resources can create tens of thousands of new jobs, attract more regional energy investment, and help protect the Southeast’s air and water resources. Findings from this report and others are helping to build southeastern support for a national renewable energy standard, a policy that is needed to drive investment and carefully manage the transition to clean energy resources. In conjunction with the release of the report, SACE also worked with partners to develop eight, state-based fact sheets for Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. The fact sheets demonstrate specific local renewable energy opportunities including an analysis of energy production potential based on the unique renewable resources available in each state.

5. The fight for renewable energy in Florida

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and our partners in the Florida Climate Alliance worked diligently during this legislative session in hopes of passing a renewable energy standard that would unleash a green revolution in the state. Despite phone calls, letter writing and a full fledged congressional education campaign, the clean energy bill halted to a dead stop after it left the Senate and landed in the hands of the Florida House of Representatives. Since 2007, Governor Crist and the Florida Public Service Commission have been waiting for the State Legislature to develop a rule that would require utilities to produce 20% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.Florida RESThe Governor’s renewable energy targets had the support of renewable energy developers, conservation groups and even the state’s largest utility. The Governor made it very clear that this piece of legislation was a priority – citizens came together and lobbied their elected officials to create a green economy that could retool the over 900,000 unemployed in the state and reinvigorate local economies. This bill, however, was held up by House leaders who wanted to pursue oil drilling in state waters near the west coast of Florida. Thankfully, their pro-drilling bill went nowhere too, due to opposition by Governor Crist, Senate leaders and citizens. Unfortunately, Florida will have to wait for federal action to drive investment and create jobs with homegrown energy resources. The silver lining is that we’ve laid a grassroots foundation in Florida to work to pass a national standard this year. Despite the inaction of the Florida State House – there are still opportunities to create a green economy at the federal level that will assist both the nearly 10 percent of Florida residents who are unemployed, and the unemployed across country. Check out Executive Director Stephen Smith’s latest blog post on the issue, “Inaction in Florida.”

6. Video postcard requests clean energy

SACE released a powerful new “video postcard” featuring citizens requesting support for strong national climate and clean energy initiatives from their elected officials. The video features actual constituents from coastal communities in Georgia calling on Congressman Jack Kingston (GA District 1) to support policy measures that will help protect their environment from the impacts of global warming. Video and other new media tools increase SACE’s ability to educate, motivate, and Video Postcardinspire people to get involved and care about the issues. The video postcard is unique because it brings the perspectives and “stories” of community members before policymakers who can connect the dots and potentially view climate change in a new way. A DVD of the video was hand-delivered to Rep. Kingston’s district offices in Valdosta, Brunswick, Baxley, and Savannah as well as to his D.C. office. In conjunction with the video postcard’s release, SACE hosted a call-in day for citizens to contact both Congressman Kingston and Congressman John Barrow (GA District 12) – both of whom are pivotal in moving Georgia and our nation toward a clean energy future. Callers encouraged leaders to push the House into acting in support of a renewable energy goal that can boost Georgia’s struggling economy and put the more than 440,000 unemployed back to work. To learn more about the call in day, visit our blog. You can also visit our website for tips on contacting your representative and to locate their individual contact information.

7. EarthFare shoppers help support clean energy

For Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, community education is an important part of the work we do. SACE partnered with Earth Fare, a natural grocery store in Asheville, N.C., during for Earth Month to promote sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. During the month of April, SACE participated in the Friends of Earth Fare program, and was the beneficiary of Earth Fare’s bag recycling program.EarthfareIn addition to being able to spread the word about the importance of the work we do, SACE received a 5¢ donation for each reusable bag customers brought into the store. SACE staff also manned the BBQ pit for Earth Fare’s first annual Music and ‘Cue with live music provided by the Knitty Naughty String Band. All proceeds from the event will directly support SACE’s work. We look forward to continued collaborations with Earth Fare to support clean energy in a southeastern community near you.

8. Upcoming events

June 10 – 12: GreenTrends Conference and Tradeshow. St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Florida Green Building Coalition will host the annual GreenTrends Education Conference and Tradeshow in beautiful St. Petersburg, at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront located at 333 1st Street South. As the leading certifier of residential projects in the state (over 1,950 homes certified, 35 local governments, and 75,000+ acres of land development), the Florida Green Building Coalition can connect you to the explosive green building market. For more information, visit 19: 2nd Annual 2009 Summer Soulstice. Nashville, Tenn.
This is an evening event fused with music, live art, and culture that will be held at Limelight located at 201 Woodland Street in Nashville, Tenn. at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Everything’s Nice Productions, the summer solstice celebration will feature music from Dubconcious and is an environmentally friendly event hosted in cooperation with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Greener Tennessee, and Greener Nashville.

June 25: Solar 101: Learning the basics of solar technology.

Webinar Opportunity.

June 27: 1Sky Leadership Summit. Washington, D.C.
Join our allies at 1Sky for a climate leadership summit on Saturday, June 27 – Sunday, June 28 in Washington, D.C. The summit offers the perfect opportunity to meet other volunteers, participate in climate policy briefings and learn effective organizing skills like how to engage elected officials. Don’t miss this great opportunity – sign up today! $35 for admission. The summit will be held at Washington Theological Union located at 6896 Laurel St in Northwest. For more information, contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Federal Policy Director, at or 828-254-6776.June 26 – 28: Go Green Expo South. Atlanta, Ga.
Atlanta will host the biggest "Green Energy, Building and Living Event" ever held in the Southeast. Go Green Expo South is part of a national tour making stops in four major cities in 2009 and will be held at The Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The event will inspire and empower business and consumers by connecting them with companies offering eco-friendly, energy-efficient products and services. The expo will also offer workshops, speakers, exhibits demonstrations, and activities for all ages. To learn more, visit 14: Summer Meeting of the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC).

Covington, Ga.

Annual meeting for GWC partners. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Georgia Wildlife Federation’s Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington, Ga. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Shirl Parsons at GWF – or 770.787.7887