SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

March 2012


header_wiredin.jpg1. SACE Goes Solar
2. Clean Energy Biofuels Update
3. Wind Energy Works in the Southeast
4. Fukushima One Year Later

1. SACE Goes Solar
Solar PV Installation LIVE at the Knoxville OfficeAfter a year of working hard on energy efficiency improvements, our Knoxville, TN office has gone to the next level in energy savings and is now officially solar-powered! The initial paperwork and applications took longer than we’d hoped; however, once the contract with Green Earth Solar was signed, it took just a few weeks for our panels to be installed and put to work! On February 29th we went live, as soon as the Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) installed the electricity meter. Today, we can proudly say that we’ve already been adding clean, safe solar-powered electrons onto the grid for over a month. Every part of our solar installation was carefully chosen. As you drive by our Knoxville office, you will see a 9.36 kW, ground-mounted system, with Sharp ND-240QCJ panels, a Sunny Boy 8000 inverter and Iron Ridge racking. All these components were made in America, and we chose the Sharp panels specifically because they were produced in the Southeast, at Sharp’s Memphis, Tennessee facility. Our new system truly highlights green American jobs in action! Furthermore, our system shows just how effective the latest solar grants and subsidies are for developing clean energy. Our unit qualified for: 1) The City of Knoxville’s Energy Efficiency and Community Block Grant (EECCBG), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and 2) The Clean Energy Technology Grant, offered by the City’s Office of Sustainability, through The Green Building and Incentives Program. Our participation in TVA Generation Partners’ Expanded Pilot allows SACE to sell excess production from our solar system back to the grid at 12 cents per kWh above our electric rate for ten years. So, since this 9.36 kW system is projected to generate about 12,000 kWh annually, this will add up to about $2,500 per year!

For more information, you can follow all of our system’s performance on our Sunny Portal. This includes kilowatts produced, pollution reduced and dollars earned. You can also check out our solar photo album to take a look at more photos of the installation process. If you’re interested in learning more on how you can invest in solar, or want to join our team in advocating for clean energy please contact us today.

2. Clean Energy Biofuels Update
DTEE taking the reinsAs you may already know, Clean Energy Biofuels (CEB) is a program we started in Atlanta in 2006, in order to provide businesses and residents with a local source of clean, renewable biodiesel from waste restaurant fryer grease. This community-based initiative was then expanded to Knoxville through a partnership between SACE and The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Clean fuels like those produced through CEB are the greenest liquid transportation fuel for diesel operations.SACE has been proud to be such a big part of this endeavor; today, we’re excited to be able to announce some positive changes for the future of this program. Over the past 18 months, SACE has built a strong partnership with Down To Earth Energy (DTEE), a Georgia-based biodiesel research and production facility. As of July 1, 2011, DTEE has taken over the business operations of CEB, including grease collection, biodiesel production, and the wholesale operations. DTEE is the only full circle biodiesel company in the state providing all the services under one company. All of their fuel is produced solely from waste cooking oil using 100% renewable solar electricity to power their fuel production. This creates a biodiesel that is a huge step beyond what other companies are offering in Georgia. To learn more about DTEE, visit their homepage: SACE remains a fully engaged and committed financial partner, and we are currently seeking to expand our partnership to more fully develop public awareness of the environmental, health, and economic benefits of locally produced biodiesel. Our short-term goal in this partnership is to open a fully operational public biodiesel retail location functioning in Atlanta later this spring.

3. Wind Energy Works in the Southeast SACE helping our region say "Yes!" to wind Wind energy represents a huge opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost economic development in the Southeast. With more than 90,000 megawatts of offshore wind potential – the equivalent of 90 big coal-fired power plants – all that is necessary to boost wind energy development in our region is the right set of policy mechanisms and stakeholder outreach. In those realms, SACE has been at the forefront of promoting wind energy in the Southeast. This year has been especially big for our wind program. At the federal level, SACE participated in the American Wind Energy Association’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. to help promote a fair tax structure for the onshore and offshore wind industries. We’ve also coordinated or presented at four different events across the Southeast this year, with many more on the way. In January, our staff presented information about offshore wind energy at the Tybee Island (Georgia) Water and Energy Conference. Then last month, SACE was invited to speak on two separate panels about the benefits of wind energy at the Southeast Regional Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Atlanta. Immediately after that, we hosted a wind workshop in Columbia with representatives from the South Carolina Energy Office, electric utilities, academia and the wind industry. Most recently, SACE was an organizing partner for the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference in Charlotte, NC, which brought together over 300 attendees from the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. Each of these events provided valuable opportunities for collaboration for those eager to promote wind energy development in the Southeast, and we’re excited to play a leading role in these efforts.

The Southeast may well be blazing a trail for wind energy in the Eastern U.S. In January, the City of Tybee Island passed a resolution strongly promoting the use of its onshore and offshore wind resources. Then in June, Atlanta will play host to the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2012 Conference. This conference can draw in 15,000 to 20,000 people from all over the globe to our region, in order to promote and encourage wind energy deployment. By year’s end, Clemson University’s wind-turbine drive train testing facility in Charleston, S.C. is scheduled to open. The most advanced of its kind in the world, this $98 million facility will spur innovation, educate wind energy engineers and attract associated manufacturing to the region. Yes, it looks now like the winds of the Southeast are finally to our backs.

4. Fukushima One Year Later
Revisiting the cost of nuclear energy dependency Over the past year, our high risk energy team has reported frequently on our blog about the tragic events that shook Japan and the world on March 11th, 2011, and the ever-worsening situation that followed. Through informational reports and periodic updates, we’ve shared with you how the tragic natural disasters that struck Japan just over a year ago — a massive earthquake and horrifying tsunami — forever changed the lives for hundreds of thousands of Japanese, killing more than 20,000 people, and impacting people across the world. The resulting nuclear disaster that unfolded, and is still underway, at TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility (which will never again operate) then made an unbearable situation far, far worse and has subsequently impacted not only Japan’s energy future, but that of the countries across the world. To commemorate this tragedy, SACE engaged in numerous activities, including posting more Fukushima-related blogs. But there are still ways you can get involved, too. You can call your elected officials and challenge them about their decisions. Ask them why they are continually clinging to a technology that countries across the world are abandoning and that poses such high risks to society when safe, affordable options exist. Demand that they move this country toward a sustainable energy future, instead of one that relies upon high risk energy choices that can forever disrupt our economy, environment and health and safety.Unfortunately, several devastating and preventable energy-related disasters have also occurred here in the Southeast: the Kingston coal ash disaster in Tennessee over the Christmas holiday of 2008 and the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil disaster in 2010. We consider the Fukushima nuclear disaster to be part of this unfortunate trend and consider all three a sort of "high risk energy choices trifecta" given the global ramifications that are still unfolding from the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. And though Fukushima was triggered by monumental natural disasters, safeguards were not instituted at the nuclear facility that could have likely prevented the subsequent failures and eventual evacuation of nearly 100,000 Japanese from their homes. The events that took place in Japan are now more relevant to the U.S. than ever before. We encourage you to continue to follow our updates on Fukushima and other nuclear issues, to participate in the conversation and to learn more about the disaster and how you can take action in your area.