http://www.cleanenergy.org/2016/12/05/december-2016/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

December 2016

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1. TVA: The Time to Contract for Clean Line’s Wind Power is Now

2. SACE leaders in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee reflect on 2016

3. How Chattanooga is connecting renewable energy, transit and electric cars

4. In climate news, 2016 is breaking records in all the wrong places

 

1. TVA: The Time to Contract for Clean Line’s Wind Power is Now
Largest renewable energy project to benefit the Southeast hangs in the balance

Wind energy creates jobs. Photos from NREL.

Wind energy creates jobs. Photos from NREL.

One of the largest renewable energy projects our region has seen will bring cheap wind energy and jobs to the South, but utilities like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) must act quickly to make wind power purchase commitments by the end of the year to lock in the lowest cost wind power prices available. Sign our petition today to show your support for bringing abundant, clean, cheap wind energy to the Southeast!

The 700-mile Clean Line Plains and Eastern Project is a proposed high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will deliver 4,000 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle region to a converter station in central Arkansas where 500 megawatts of wind power can be dropped off and delivered to the state. The remaining 3,500 megawatts of wind energy will be delivered to Tennessee and made available to the rest of our Southeastern states. The 4,000 megawatts of power that will be produced by the project is equivalent to providing electricity for 1.5 million homes across our region – which is four times the output of the Hoover Dam annually! The project should begin construction in 2017 and should take 2-3 years to complete.

Critical deadlines regarding the federal production tax credit for wind power are fast approaching. Fortunately, contracts for wind power can be signed today, and take delivery as late as December 2020, and still qualify for the important tax incentive. We encourage TVA to immediately contract for at least 1,000 megawatts of wind power on the Plains and Eastern Clean Line.

Sign our petition today to urge TVA to take advantage of this low-cost, abundant, clean energy resource that would benefit our region.

 

2. SACE leaders in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee reflect on 2016
Watch video re-caps from state liaisons

Southeast-FINALNo doubt 2016 has been a very busy year for SACE and we are proud of our staff who work tirelessly to bring more clean energy and energy efficiency to the Southeast. Each of our state liaisons have made short videos highlighting a few of the major accomplishments throughout the region. See what’s happening in your state and join today to support our efforts!

Thank you for being a part of the clean energy revolution! Make sure you’re tuned into our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram – for daily updates, photos and actions on clean energy.

 

3. How Chattanooga is connecting renewable energy, transit and electric cars
Clean transit bring cleaner air to this Southeast city

CARTA electric bus. Photo courtesy of Philip Pugliese, Prova Group, CARTA

CARTA electric bus. Photo courtesy of Philip Pugliese, Prova Group, CARTA

With persistent air quality problems in the late 1980s and 1990s, Chattanooga sought alternatives to reduce emissions and congestion. Rail and other initiatives were evaluated, but they opted to go electric. Their first electric bus was dedicated in 1992.

The result, CARTA, is now on their second generation of electric buses running 19 bus routes, with fourteen all-electric buses serving nearly one million people annually. They also run an incline railway and have had a bike sharing program since 2012. Funding is generated through parking garage revenues. These types of initiatives are just now taking off in other cities around the Southeast and around the country. For example, the City of Atlanta started their first bike program just this summer.

With $3 million in funding from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), GreenCommuter has launched an electric car sharing program in Chattanooga. They are deploying 20 Nissan LEAFs – all-electric battery electric vehicles (EV) – and installing 20 Level 2 EV charging stations (60 ports). The program also includes the installation of a 50 kilowatt (kW) solar array at CARTA’s main facility as well as two other sites, the Chattanooga Airport (10 kW) and Southern Adventist University (20 kW), that will compensate for energy used by the EV fleet.

Thirty percent of Chattanoogans don’t drive a car and more and more people are wanting public transportation and supporting new technology, so Chattanooga is looking comprehensively at how to support these interests — connecting public transportation, with the car and bike sharing access locations, alternative fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles. For the car-sharing program, reservations for the Nissan LEAFs and bikes can be done via mobile phones using their reservation app.

Taking the city’s efforts a step further, GreenCommuter is also working with Tesla on a vanpool program, which will utilize the all-electric Tesla X. They have applied for grant funding in hopes of supporting and expanding the pilot program. CARTA will also be adding to its electric bus fleet in 2017. They will be acquiring three new BYD buses with inductive charging, the latest in electric buses. Other cities throughout the U.S. are currently testing out this new technology.

With these initiatives and goals “to promote economic development, safer and connected neighborhoods, active and healthier citizens, and cleaner and greener communities,” Chattanooga is transforming the city and setting a positive example for other mid-size cities throughout the Southeast to follow.

 

4. In climate news, 2016 is breaking records in all the wrong places
Record hot year and record low sea ice underscore need for Trump to stay the course on climate action

WMO_global_temp_2016In an ironic twist, the presidential election took place precisely at the same time as the 22nd UN climate change conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco. While President-Elect Trump was proposing to nix American involvement in such international cooperation going forward, the climate is sending clear signals about the need for Trump to stay the course with policies to combat climate change. Scientists reported in early November that Arctic sea ice cover is at levels lower than was observed during the record-breaking 2012 season, while correspondingly the North Pole temperatures are at what’s being called ‘freakishly warm’ levels.

While 2016′s sea ice coverage is atypical compared to historic data, record breaking lows may become “the new normal.” Meanwhile, 2016 is also making history in other areas of climate science in which the records being set are not an outlier, but rather the trend. In mid-November, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a statement saying that 2016 will very likely be the hottest year since record keeping began.

Sadly, this is entirely consistent with the steady warming of the 21st century. Before 2016 was the hottest year on record, 2015 was the hottest year on record, and before 2015 was the hottest year on record, 2014 was the hottest year on record. While not every passing year tops the list, each of the 16 passing years since 2001 has qualified as one of the 17 warmest years on record.

What this warmth meant in terms of impact in 2016 was outlined by the WMO: extreme weather events that caused catastrophe to people around the world, including Hurricane Matthew and Typhoon Lionrock; major floods in the Yangtze basin, Sri Lanka, and the Niger River basin; extreme heat waves in Southern and Northern Africa and the Middle East; the Alberta wildfire; and Southern African drought. Together these extreme weather events killed at least 1,000 people, destroyed or severely crippled thousands of people’s homes and livelihoods, caused tens of billions of dollars worth of damage, and are expected to contribute to millions of people’s famine and displacement. A separate WMO report recently found that more than half of extreme weather events investigated from 2011 to 2014 were contributed to by climate pollution.

This is data, not conjecture. These are the vital signs of earth. President-Elect Trump and his administration must learn that his inaction on climate change will have severe consequences on us inhabitants of this planet.