http://www.cleanenergy.org/2017/10/10/october-2017/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

October 2017

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1. Go Electric: Take the NextCar Pledge

2. FPL Pollutes and Loots at its Turkey Point Plant

3. Hurricanes + Solar


1. Go Electric: Take the NextCar Pledge

next-car-pledge-sqTransportation, primarily our cars and trucks, is now the largest contributor of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution in the United States (U.S.), overtaking the power sector. In addition, the U.S. currently sends billions of dollars to other countries to import oil, costing us billions more in military costs and loss of life. We can avoid the negative impacts of oil by transitioning to a cleaner, smarter way to drive – Go electric!

Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicle (EVs) sales in the U.S. have increased substantially in 2017, yet only 159,000 of the 17.47 MILLION new vehicles sold in the US in 2016 were EVs. One reason for this gap is that a whopping 60% of Americans say they are unaware of EVs. This means there is a huge opportunity for growth of EVs.

EVs have a range of benefits:

  • Zero harmful tailpipe emissions.
  • Better choice for the environment
  • Cost less to fuel and operate.
  • FUN, smooth, and quiet to drive.
  • Reduce our dependence on oil imports and fluctuating oil costs.
  • Offer millions of dollars in economic value to our states.
  • Easy to fuel.

To help expedite the transition and increase support for EV adoption, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Florida League of Women Voters (LWVFL), and Plug-In America (PIA) have teamed up with a new initiative – “NextCar Pledge.”

The idea is simple. By taking the pledge, YOU make a commitment to make your next car an EV and join a movement toward cleaner technology. Pledge signers will benefit from joining Electrify the South’s network of resources on electric vehicle options, charging, events, and how to effectively engage in EV-supportive policy.

Support for the NextCar Pledge will demonstrate to carmakers and decision makers that there is a growing body of drivers and supporters of EVs that are committed to an EV revolution. Current EVs drivers can also sign the pledge as a demonstration of your commitment to share the benefits of EVs and join this exciting movement.

In addition to taking the NextCar Pledge, there is an opportunity to become an amplifier of the message. By signing up as an EV Ambassador, you can help spread the message through your social media and networks to encourage others to sign the pledge too. Together, this synergy will lead us to an EV revolution! Please join us in this effort – Will you join the NextCar Pledge Movement? Take the Pledge! Visit www.nextcarpledge.com

 

2. FPL Pollutes and Loots at its Turkey Point Plant

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You make a mess, you clean it up.

That’s a basic lesson that’s taught to us by our parents at an early age. Yet, executives at Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state’s biggest power company, have apparently forgotten that lesson over time. The utility wants its customers to pay more than $200 million over the next ten years for cleaning up a mess – created on its watch – at its Turkey Point plant in south Florida.

FPL has been operating a ten square mile cooling canal system since the 1970’s that has been leaching contaminated water underground creating a plume of pollution that is spreading westward towards drinking water wells and eastward into pristine Biscayne National Park. Last year, FPL entered in an agreement with the state environmental regulators to clean up its mess. Now it wants customers to pay.

The Florida Public Service Commission is considering the request. An expert in the case concluded that FPL should have known as early as 1978 that it had a pollution problem – yet it sat on its hands for decades. FPL should have acted prudently in addressing its problems with the leaking cooling canals long ago. Why should families that are served by FPL pay for decades of mistakes by FPL?

The Commission will decide whether to grant FPL’s unfair request at an October 25th hearing. SACE has intervened in the case and is challenging FPL’s request at the Commission. Expect the legal fireworks to fly. After all, customers shouldn’t have to pay for years of FPL inaction. FPL should clean up its own mess. If you live in Florida and agree, considering sending a letter to the Commission today!

 

3. Hurricanes + Solar

Solar panels outlast Hurricane Sandy

Solar panels outlast Hurricane Sandy

Living in the Southeast, hurricanes and tropical storms are a frequent topic of conversation every year, but especially this year as the devastating effects of Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate are still being felt.

For many, a big question was, if the power goes out, will solar panels still work?

Here’s the short answer – If you are talking about the standard, grid-connected solar panel systems, no, they will not generate power. If the grid goes down, your solar panels are “down” as well, not providing any electricity to you. The biggest reason for this shutdown is safety – As soon as possible after the grid goes down in a hurricane or tropical storm, power companies get to work trying to bring it back on, that means hundreds, or even thousands, of workers and emergency response teams are performing hands on work on power lines in affected areas. If residential solar panel systems are connected to the grid and generating power, this poses an electric shock risk to any worker.

Here’s the longer answer – Some solar panel systems will work when the power goes down. Essentially, if it’s not connected to the grid, you’re in business. If the whole system is designed to be off-grid, complete with battery back up, a power outage for everyone else won’t affect you at all. If you can’t afford a full off-grid system you can set up a partial system to power a few essentials created with a disconnect switch from your rooftop array and/or a completely separate circuit. The disconnect switch would ensure you’re not feeding any stray power onto the grid, and the panels act like fuel for your generator as long as the sun is shining. If you wanted to have power during the storm or at night, you’ll need some form of battery backup connected to your panels.

In short, solar can be very helpful during hurricane season, whether it’s protecting your roof, powering a large battery operated a system, charging your cell phone, or providing needed light during a power outage. Long term, solar can play a much larger role when it comes to hurricanes for two big reasons.

1: Increased emissions from dirty energy is fueling warmer ocean and air temperatures, which is helping to exacerbate extreme weather events such as hurricanes; increased solar adoption will help to mitigate that.

2: As we are currently seeing in the aftermath of Harvey, massive storms lead to flooded refineries and power plants, spreading toxic pollution into our water, air, and soil. A solar spill, on the other hand, well, that’s just a sunny day.

Here’s hoping for many more sunny, solar-filled days, and a safe-as-possible hurricane season here in the Southeast.