SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

September 2016



1. Solar Victory in the Sunshine State!
Amendment 4 approved by Florida voters by over 70 Percent

WEDIDITWith the support and efforts of thousands of volunteers and partners, Floridians secured a major win for solar in the Sunshine State with the passage of Amendment 4 in the August 30th primary election! Over 72 percent of voters – that’s more than 1.9 million people – showed up to the polls to support good solar policy.

Once enacted by the state legislature, Amendment 4 will help Floridians lower energy costs by reducing the tax burden that presently exists for solar equipment. With lower taxes for homeowners and businesses, it is likely we will see more solar energy development enabling Floridians to lock in energy savings, create local jobs, spur economic development in our communities and bring much-needed diversity to the state’s energy mix.

SACE is a strong supporter of Amendment 4 recognizing it as one option for promoting good solar policy in Florida. However, on the upcoming general election ballot, Florida voters will see another proposed solar amendment but this one is a deceptive, utility-backed amendment known as Amendment 1. Read our staff blog to learn how the anti-consumer Amendment 1 blocks the sun in the Sunshine State.

2. SACE Celebrates Drive Electric Week, September 10-18, 2016
Find an event near you

ndew-2016-mapElectric vehicles are here to stay, but have you ever been in one or know how far you can go on a charge?

National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is your chance to learn more. NDEW kicks off its sixth year with hundreds of events scheduled September 10-18, 2016. Public officials, business leaders, electric vehicle industry groups and environmental groups will join together to highlight the fun, clean-air benefits, and cost-savings of electric cars.

If you are curious to know what all the buzz is about, these events are a GREAT time for you to talk one-on-one with owners and manufacturers and the get the truth about EVs.

SACE is supporting National Drive Electric Week events across the Southeast. We recognize the opportunities of transitioning to electric vehicles – cutting tailpipe emissions, saving drivers money and supporting local economic development. SACE also offers EV charging at our offices in Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC. They are free and open to the public. Find us on Plugshare here.

In Georgia, SACE is pleased to be supporting the premier Atlanta celebration, held this year at Avalon in Alpharetta on Saturday, September 10. More than 50 EVs and their owners will be available, plus EV chargers and other products on display. A social and press event will begin at 9:00 am in the Avalon Plaza followed by a display of electric vehicles (EV) around Avalon’s Plaza and Boulevard between 10:00am-3:00pm. Mayor David Belle Isle of Alpharetta, City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, Georgia Power, Sierra Club – Georgia Chapter and Mayor of Clarkston, among others will be in attendance. RSVP and Share our Facebook event page.

In North Carolina, SACE is celebrating NDEW on Sunday, September 11 from 12:00pm-4:00pm –at the Asheville Outlets. Join us for a fun-filled, afternoon including rides in electric vehicles, learn about the various kinds of chargers available to EV owners, meet owners and explore the new Asheville Outlets and one of more than 75 stores. RSVP and Share our Facebook event page.

We hope you will be become part of this movement too! Come out to an event near you. For a complete list of National Drive Electric Week events, click here and follow #NDEW2015 on social media.

See you at National Drive Electric Week!

3. Engaging on Energy: Nuclear Power
Not a solution to climate change

Vogtle NPP construction site, July 30, 2015. All photos copyright (c) 2015 - contact for further information.

Vogtle NPP construction site, July 30, 2015. All photos copyright (c) 2015 – contact for further information.

Proponents of nuclear power claim it is a safe, low-cost alternative to fossil fuels that can lower the carbon pollution that contributes to global climate change. The reality is quite different – nuclear reactors currently under construction have been delayed over and over again, are absurdly over budget, and pose serious risks to water quality and public health and safety.

In addition to the fact that safe, long-term management of highly radioactive waste from nuclear plants remains unsolved, nuclear energy is the most water-intensive traditional energy source, using even more water than a typical coal plant!

Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle currently withdraws on average 67 million gallons of water per day from the imperiled Savannah River, returning less than one-third at the end of the cooling process. Furthermore, water discharged from nuclear plants is warmer than the rest of the river or water body, which has an adverse effect on aquatic life.

On top of these issues, studies show that nuclear is just not cost-competitive. A recent study by the investment bank Lazard shows that wind and solar power are beating out conventional fuels like coal, natural gas and nuclear on cost. Since 2009, the price of solar energy has fallen by 80 percent, and the price of wind power has fallen by 60 percent. In stark contrast, new nuclear power has only increased in cost; wind and solar are now less than half the cost of nuclear.

With clean, no-carbon renewable energy such as wind and solar becoming even more cost-effective, there is no rational reason to replace fossil fuels with as risky an energy source as nuclear power. The threats to water quality and supply, as well as to fragile ecosystems, are not worth it, as clearly demonstrated by Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) polluting Turkey Point nuclear plant near Miami. In addition to being an unnecessarily risky energy source, the process of building new reactors is particularly dysfunctional, as exemplified by TVA’s Watts Bar 2 reactor in Tennessee and the reactors under construction at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle in Georgia and SCANA/SCE&G’s V.C. Summer in South Carolina.

To learn more, visit the “Behind the Scenes” section of our website to see the full article in “Engaging on Energy.”


4. Offshore Wind Progresses in the Carolinas
Lease Sale Proposed Offshore North Carolina

offshore-wind-squareIn mid-August, the Carolinas’ first offshore wind lease sale was announced by federal regulators at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The action seeks to formalize industry interest in leasing the area off the North Carolina coast, which will help determine if and how the lease will eventually be offered.

The area to be leased is the Kitty Hawk wind energy area—just one of three of North Carolina’s designated offshore wind energy areas. The other two areas—close to Wilmington—will both be offered at a later date in conjunction with wind areas off of South Carolina’s coast.

SACE remains a strong proponent of properly sited offshore wind energy projects and is eager to continue working alongside local, state, and federal groups to help site offshore wind farms in the most responsible and economic areas. The notice of the proposed lease sale is a milestone in progress toward realizing the vast potential of wind energy in the Southeast. North Carolina has the largest offshore wind energy resource in the nation, while South Carolina has the second. There is enough wind off the coast of the Carolinas to develop as much wind power as the states could possibly want and plenty extra. The economics of offshore wind energy remain challenging, however, as SACE’s analysis has shown, the power it would produce would be very valuable “peak” power, providing electricity when it is needed the most.

SACE staff was interviewed on public radio about the Kitty Hawk lease sale, which you can listen to here.

Industry interest is due to BOEM by October 17 and if interest is expressed, it is likely that the lease will be officially offered in early 2017.

BOEM will hosting a public information session on the lease sale process on September 21, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., at Jennette’s Pier in Nag Head.

Of note, the Kitty Hawk proposed sale notice was released the same month that America’s first-ever offshore wind farm completed construction. The Block Island Wind Farm, off the coast of Rhode Island, completed construction in late August on the 30-megawatt, 5-turbine away, which now serves as America’s first offshore wind farm case study. Excellent photos and videos from the construction process, and now complete project, are available on the developer’s Facebook page.