SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

October 2016




1. 2016 Elections only a month away
SACE profiles presidential candidates on energy issues

candidate-seriesWith the 2016 Presidential election less than a month away, SACE staff has reviewed all four major party candidates’ views on key energy issues and climate change — Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Dr. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

In May, Donald Trump, Republican candidate for President, outlined his “America First Energy Plan,” noting that “we can pursue all forms of energy” to make the United States energy independent. On climate change, Mr. Trump has called climate change both a “con job” and a “hoax.” Read full blog here.

Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential candidate, believes in climate change and supports President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. She has a fairly robust plan regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, her previous positions on and relationships with the fossil fuel industry are less clear. Perhaps the most opaque energy issue is Clinton’s position on nuclear energy. Read more.

Dr. Jill Stein is running for president as the Green Party’s candidate. Many of her energy policy goals are more ambitious than many of the other presidential candidates. However, while her goals are ambitious, the details related to Stein’s energy policies seem to be rather scant. Read full blog here.

Running as the Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson espouses limited regulation, little government spending, individual responsibility, and strong private property rights. His positions on energy and climate, therefore–and those of the Party–reflect this political philosophy and generally sidestep answering “what” their energy and climate policies are, in favor of “how” to go about setting such policies. Read more.

We encourage our supporters to research the positions candidates at every level take specific to energy policies because major policy proposals like the federal Clean Power Plan and its mandated state implementation plans will continue to shape the way our country produces and consumes energy for decades. Implementing these policies will take strong leaders to help our country move towards climate solutions. SACE is committed to tracking these energy policies as well as the elected officials and agencies in charge of their effectiveness.


2. Support clean energy today
SACE launches fall membership campaign

2016-fall-campaign-send1STAND WITH SACE as we show our leaders that people across the Southeast demand a clean energy future. In the face of very real threats from climate change, like extreme weather events and sea-level rise, that are becoming more visible every day, carbon-free solutions like wind and solar continue to get cheaper and energy efficiency remains the cheapest and fastest way to reduce energy use and cut energy costs.

Our country has some important choices to make – do we continue on a backwards, destructive, unstable energy path that relies on fossil fuels, or do we move forward by taking advantage of low-cost, plentiful sun and wind power? By working TOGETHER, we can CHOOSE a clean energy future that protects our treasured places and ensures clean air and water for our children and grandchildren. We need your help to ensure citizens make informed choices in the days to come.

Please voice your support for clean energy by investing in SACE TODAY! Together, we can make communities cleaner, safer and healthier by transitioning to wind, solar and energy efficiency.


3. Utilities: Don’t wait. Buy wind power now.
Low prices, stable incentives and new tech

wind-farm-feildWe are calling on ALL our supporters to Wind energy has never been cheaper. With advanced wind turbine technology, coupled with a clear federal incentive for wind power, now is the time for utilities and corporate purchasers to harness the wind. But time is running out.

In December 2015, Congress passed a long-term phase out of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy. For wind farm developers, the PTC enables them to lower the price of wind power and pass those savings on to utilities and their customers. Southern utilities and corporate buyers have a variety of wind energy opportunities available, including high performance and low cost wind energy from high voltage direct current transmission projects, importing wind using the existing grid systems (from the Southwest Power Pool or the Midcontinent Independent System Operator), or in-region wind farm development.

Right now, over 3,800 megawatts of wind power contracts in the south have already been signed by major utilities like Alabama Power, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, Southwestern Electric Power Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, among others. The vast majority of wind power purchases in the south have been completely voluntary – wind power is a reliable, low cost resource that helps keep the lights on. As such, Congress’ phase out of the only federal incentive for wind power seems timely.

Starting next year, the PTC will decline by 20% in value. The PTC will continue to decline by 20% every year thereafter, until it is completely eliminated in 2020. Thus, utilities and corporate purchasers should seriously consider signing power purchase agreements this year so they can lock in the lowest cost wind energy options.

Due to a positive regulatory update, wind farm developers have four calendar years after “safe harboring” a project before they must begin to deliver power. That means that, this year, a utility could contract for a wind farm to deliver power as late as December 31, 2020 and still receive this year’s full value of the PTC. The longer “continual construction” process means today’s absolute lowest cost wind power prices should be evaluated against competing energy prices within the next four years – not just today’s energy prices. Estimates suggest that utilities and corporate buyers that wait a single year, and delay the construction of a wind farm until next year, may lose $21.7 million in associated PTC savings for each 100 megawatts of wind power contracted.

To learn more about the urgency to contract for wind energy resources, be sure to watch a recording of a webinar on Southern Wind Energy Opportunities presented by Simon Mahan, the director of the Southern Wind Energy Association.


4. gets an upgrade
New video & upcoming webinar demo new features

southeast-coal-ash-sqLast month, SACE was pleased to unveil the redesigned The website’s southeast power plant map feature is handier, the pages and design are streamlined, and the entire site is now mobile friendly. We made a video to demo some of the site’s key features. Watch the video and share it!

Later this month, on October 19, at 10 AM EST, SACE will host a webinar where we’ll walk you through key features of the revamped website, highlight the information and tools designed to help you fight coal ash threats in your area, and offer a Q&A session.

The new and improved is a one-stop site for coal ash data and action opportunities in the southeast. The map, the first thing you’ll see when you visit the site, makes it easy to zoom in on the outlines of coal ash pits near your community and your local waterways.

Each facility page links you directly to data provided by utilities thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) coal ash rule, saving you the trouble of hunting down each individual utility’s website. This data includes how much coal ash and wastewater are stored at power plants, and will soon include results of groundwater monitoring for contamination.

Whether you’re wondering where coal ash is stored near you, concerned about its threats to your health, or looking to dive into utility-supplied data on coal ash pits, you won’t want to miss our webinar. Register here.