1. SACE Awarded $5 Million for Diesel Clean Up
SACE received a $5 million SmartWay grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund our new “Clean Trucks Make Cents” (CTMC) program. CTMC will finance the sales of pre-2007 tractor-trailer trucks that have been retrofit with pollution control devices and idling reducing technology. These retrofits will result in up to 90 percent lower emissions. EPA’s SmartWay Clean Finance Program was designed to help Southern truckers and small businesses purchase cleaner trucks. CTMC will help achieve this goal by providing financing to owners who would otherwise not qualify, thus encouraging them to purchase greener, cleaner vehicles.SACE will partner with Rush Truck Centers to implement CTMC. Rush will be the exclusive vendor for these ‘greener’ used trucks. The retrofit trucks will first become available at Rush’s Nashville (Smyrna), Tenn., dealership, and over the grant period at other locations throughout the Southeast.New federal emissions standards were established in 2007. Due to their infamous longevity, many diesel engines built prior to these emissions controls will remain on the road for many years. These pre-2007 engines are exempt from the new standards, and are likely to continue to spew toxic emissions across the region for many years – unless they are retrofit. Current costs make retrofits prohibitive for many tractor-trailer owners. SACE’s new CTMC program is designed specifically to help these drivers and small businesses that might normally have trouble qualifying for financing. Through CTMC, we will give these drivers the means to move to a cleaner, greener truck.CTMC will help reduce dangerous emissions from trucks that operate through major transportation corridors throughout the Southeast. The program will ultimately reduce emissions and exposure, and will especially benefit communities surrounding these corridors and those who live near high-traffic sites such as rail yards, grocery stores and distribution centers.SACE is thrilled that EPA chose our unique program as a grant recipient, and we look forward to playing a direct role in reducing toxic emissions from trucks traveling in the Southeast.Those interested in buying a retrofit diesel truck can contact Rush Truck Centers in Nashville, Winter Garden and Tampa, or search the inventory online at www.rushtruckcenters.com. Retrofit trucks will be available in early 2011. More details on the CTMC program are available at www.cleanenergy.org. CTMC will continue throughout 2014.
2. Georgia Court Rejects Plant Washington Permit
SACE is very pleased with Georgia State Court Judge Ronit Walkers’ December 16 ruling that Plant Washington’s air permit does not sufficiently protect public health and the environment. Judge Ronit ruled that the permit, granted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), violated the Clean Air Act’s limits on air pollution that causes cancer, birth defects, heart disease, developmental disorders and injury.GreenLaw and the Southern Environmental Law Center represented the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter, and SACE in a legal challenge to the air permit for Power4Georgians’ proposed 850 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Washington County, and we are thrilled to see that the case prevailed in court. The ruling means that the Georgia EPD must now reconsider whether a new coal-fired power plant in Washington County is permissible.By insisting on constructing a new pollution-causing coal-fired power plant, Power4Georgians is being economically and environmentally irresponsible. A new
facility like Plant Washington would contribute to worsening air quality in Georgia. Furthermore, Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) that support plans for Plant Washington (led by Cobb EMC) have yet to fully explore the more cost-effective energy alternatives that are readily available in the Southeast. If Plant Washington is in fact built, Georgians will ultimately pay the price with their wallets, their health, and their quality of life.Judge Ronit’s responsible ruling on Thursday sends Plant Washington back to the Georgia EPD, who must now reconsider the fact that the coal-fired power plant would emit an estimated 6.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air annually. This is certainly a threat to human health and the environment, and SACE plans to continue fighting Plant Washington until plans are cancelled, permanently and completely.To find out more, check out our blog posting, Plant Washington Air Permit REJECTED by Georgia Court, on Clean Energy Footprints.
3. South Carolina Leading Offshore Wind Efforts
South Carolina has been a hotbed of activity for offshore wind during the past few months. On October 28, Clemson University’s Restoration Institute broke ground on their new $98 million Wind Turbine Drive Train Testing Facility, which was funded by a November 2009 Recovery Act award. This facility is the first of its kind, and is the largest single investment ever made in South Carolina, for anything.SACE’s Coastal Program Coordinator Toni Reale was among roughly 300 attendants at the groundbreaking ceremony in a North Charleston warehouse, where she found herself in the company of academics, wind experts, and elected officials including Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Jim Clyburn. Beginning in January 2011, that warehouse will become a test bed for some very large wind turbines, up to 15 megawatts.On November 30, Santee Cooper installed South Carolina’s first coastal wind turbine in North Myrtle Beach. This 2.4 kilowatt turbine is part of Santee Cooper’s Green Power Program and Wind Education Project. The installation kicked off the Southern Wind 2010 Conference, where wind industry experts, researchers and stakeholders came together to advance wind energy in the Southeast. During the conference, SACE staff joined the S.C. Wildlife Federation and the Mayor of North Myrtle Beach in releasing the National Wildlife Federation’s new report, “Offshore Wind in the Atlantic, Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air, and Wildlife Protection.”It has been a busy fall for offshore wind energy throughout our region. In addition to the excitement at Clemson and Santee Cooper, SACE staff coordinated public educational forums on offshore wind energy in coastal Georgia and South Carolina, which drew hundreds of coastal participants that showed an overwhelming support for offshore wind energy. These forums were funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in partnership with wind stakeholder groups in both states.These successes are telling of the sea change toward clean energy in the Southeast. SACE is proud to be a part of this important movement toward a cleaner, safer, healthier future.For more information on offshore wind and its potential in the Southeast, visit our website and blog, or read the National Wildlife Federation’s informative report.
4. Fryer-to-Fuel: Recycle Your Waste Cooking Oil
This holiday season, SACE’s Clean Energy Biofuels Program, the city of Knoxville and Knox County have begun a waste vegetable oil collection pilot program that will allow residents to recycle their used cooking oil into clean burning biodiesel. Collection centers are set up throughout Knox County where residents can drop off any closed, non-glass container of waste vegetable oil.Beginning November 29, the following locations began collecting waste vegetable oil during their respective regular hours:
Residents are encouraged to recycle used cooking oil and waste vegetable oil, but not waste grease derived directly from meat drippings.Clean Energy Biofuels (CEB), a partnership between SACE and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, is made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). CEB aims to supply locally produced biodiesel to the Knoxville community.Waste vegetable oil from households is added to what CEB is already collecting from almost one hundred partnering restaurants and food service establishments. We collected over 100 gallons of high quality oil during the first week! By utilizing waste matter as our primary feedstock, CEB is creating a domestic, renewable fuel source that does not compete with food crops for arable land.Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine with little or no modifications and has several benefits over is petroleum counterpart. The fuel itself is nontoxic, biodegradable and emits significantly less sulfur, carbon and nitrogen, which are serious environmental and public health hazards. The fact that this fuel is sourced, produced, and distributed locally enhances the local economy and reduces our dependence on foreign fuel sources, thus enhancing national security.In addition to providing a local, community-driven feedstock for cleaner burning biodiesel, this new program promotes responsible oil disposal. Recycling waste vegetable oil keeps it out of drains where it can cause harmful sewage backups, and out of overburdened landfills as well. For more information, visit the Clean Energy Biofuels website.
5. Election Recap – the Midterm Swing
Although a few races are still being determined with recounts and write-in ballots, the vast majority of the 2010 midterm races have been decided. Here in the Southeastern states that SACE represents, voters elected five governors, six U.S. senators, nearly 100 representatives, and hundreds of members to serve in state general assemblies from Richmond, Va., down to Tallahassee, Fla.This midterm saw slightly higher participation rates than past mid-term cycles (approximately 42 percent nationwide). The increase was due in part to anxiety about the economy and jobs, and also the tight races in several states (including a few here in the Southeast).Although five new Southern governors will be sworn in come January, only one state saw a party change as clean energy supporter Gov.-elect Bill Haslam, the current Republican mayor of Knoxville, will replace the term-limited Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat. There were no party changes in any Southeastern senate race, although Florida’s Sen.-elect Marco Rubio’s victory may have implications for climate policy, as he has expressed doubts about climate science. Sen. Mel Martinez, whom he is replacing, supported attempts to pass a climate bill in 2008. The House of Representatives saw the greatest shift, with 15 seats in our region experiencing party changes – at least one seat in every state other than Kentucky.When Congress reconvenes in January, the House and the Senate will be controlled by different parties (the Republicans and the Democrats, respectively), making it unlikely that sweeping energy legislation – either progressive or regressive – will become law in 2011. We are more likely to see incremental policies where there are ‘broad areas of agreement,’ such as wider deployment of electric vehicles, improvements in energy efficiency, and further increases in fuel economy standards. Unfortunately, legislative threats to the Clean Air Act are equally, if not more, likely in the new Congress, making it that much more important that citizens convey their support for the public health protections this law provides.For more detailed information and a state-by-state run down of election results, download and listen to our recent post-election webinar here.
6. 2010 Year in Review
2010 has been an exciting year for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. We made great progress over the past 12 months, and were rewarded for our diligent work to protect health and safety of Southern communities.SACE is proud to have played a key role in the development of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)’s new 1 megawatt solar array, unveiled near Knoxville in June. The project incorporated Memphis-based SHARP Solar’s 2 millionth produced photovoltaic panel, and is the largest solar farm in the TVA region. SACE ceremoniously installed the first panel; TVA installed the final one.SACE responded to the Gulf oil disaster in April by demonstrating the dangers of our reliance on high risk, dirty, pollution-causing energy sources. We refined factsheets and talking points to more clearly communicate these dangers and make a case for progressive energy policy; and led two energy policy forums that used the oil spill to illustrate the urgency with which we must move toward a solution.SACE Executive Director Stephen A. Smith was invited to sit on the Stakeholder Review Group (SRG) for TVA’s 2010 Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process. From this vantage point, he consistently calls for strong energy efficiency and renewable energy standards and for the retirement of old, dirty, inefficient coal-fired power plants in the TVA region. TVA’s board of directors announced a new strategic vision of becoming a leader in clean air and efficiency in August. Less than a week later the board announced plans to idle 1,000 megawatts of old, dirty coal-fired power plants. SACE graded TVA’s draft IRP in September, and gave it mostly satisfactory marks, but a ‘C-‘ for ‘developing renewable energy resources.’ We believe TVA should take advantage of renewable energy resources that are available right here in the Southeast.SACE educated Georgians on the dangers and the unnecessary nature of Power4Georgians’ proposed new coal-fired power plant in Washington County. We spread awareness of clean, renewable alternatives to new coal-fired power plants. Thanks to our efforts and those of our allies, Plant Washington has not been built.2010 was also our silver anniversary. We have spent the year reflecting on our past achievements and the wonderful support of our members, and recently released our 25th anniversary commemorative video, which can be viewed on our website. Although we have many reasons to celebrate, we also remember all that remains to be done to move the Southeast further toward a clean energy future. SACE plans to continue our important work into 2011 and for many years to come.Thank you for helping us to get to where we are! We look forward to growing our relationship with our members and partners, and to the work that lies ahead.
7. Upcoming events
January 10 – 12: Public Hearings on Offshore Energy.
Coastal Communities, N.C.
The Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy, established in September 2009, has studied oil and gas exploration, wind turbines, and other forms, and plans to report findings by September 2011. In past public meetings on offshore wind turbines, citizens have raised concerns including noise, jobs, wildlife habitat, property values and tourism. Offshore exploration for oil and gas has drawn criticism as well as praise. The state panel will continue to study the Obama administration’s announcement that it will not open waters off the East Coast to drilling.Public hearings will be held in Wilmington on Jan. 10; in Morehead City on Jan. 11; and in Manteo on Jan. 12. Times and specific places will be announced before the year ends. The meetings will be available online, and public comments can be mailed or sent electronically.Check for updates as time approaches.January 28 – 30: 5th Annual TASSC Winter Summit.
TASSC (Tennessee Alumni and Students for Sustainable Campuses) is the statewide network of young environmentalists, and is coordinated by SACE’s Campus Program. TASSC is holding its 5th Annual Winter Summit at the Mill House Lodge of Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tenn., during the last weekend in January.Young people working on sustainable policies at their universities and/or in their communities will join together to share ideas, receive training from staff and their peers on organizing, and develop local and statewide goals and plans.The Summit begins January 28 at 5:00 p.m. and lasts until January 30 at noon. Food and housing are provided for the weekend (with a suggested $10 donation), reserved space is limited. Private cabins are available at your own expense. For more information, contact Reggie Miller, Tennessee Campus Coordinator, at (615) 691-0850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.February 24: Forest Bioenergy Conference.
Interest in forest biomass as a potential feedstock for renewable energy facilities has been especially keen for the past several years, especially in Georgia. While many issues are becoming clearer, much uncertainty remains with regard to government policy and market prices for fossil fuels. The third biennial conference, hosted by the Georgia Forestry Association and the University of Georgia Center for Forest Business, Warnell School of Forestry, will examine forest bioenergy development in Georgia. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from some of the players on the front lines of developing markets, influencing government policies, and conducting research on how these changes may impact our wood supply system.The conference is from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on February 24, at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, 1000 Indian Springs Dr., Forsyth, Ga., 31029. Email email@example.com or call (478) 992-8110 for registration inquiries.April 1 – 4: Power Shift 2011.
Power Shift 2011 is our opportunity to come together and define the way forward. Together, participants will celebrate grassroots success stories, hear from movement leaders, and learn from and train each other to launch new campaigns. During the event, participants will take bold action to set the tone in Washington and demonstrate what true leadership looks like. If it’s anything like years past, Power Shift 2011 is bound to be historic.Power Shift 2011 will take place at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Find more information, register, or sign up to be a Power Shift Coordinator online.