SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Other Southeastern States
Southeast Energy Overview
Unique landscapes, abundant wildlife and innovative people characterize the Southeast, and our natural heritage is our economic foundation. Our states’ economies are largely based on agriculture, forestry and outdoor tourism—sectors that are highly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and climate change. In fact, when it comes to climate change, the Southeast is one of the most vulnerable regions in the nation.
Unfortunately, dirty coal-fired generation continues to dominate the Southeast when it comes to producing electricity. In addition to emitting harmful air pollution, coal-fired power plants produce massive amounts of toxic coal ash; our nation’s largest unregulated waste stream. Containing elevated concentrations of arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and other heavy metals, the waste is commonly stored in huge holding lagoons that are often unlined, aging, failing and located close to the waterways we all depend on for drinking, fishing, recreation and agriculture. The Southeast is home to the highest concentration of these dumpsites: 450 in all containing enough coal ash sludge to cover 275,000 football fields one foot deep. Learn more about coal ash in each Southeastern state on our page www.SoutheastCoalash.org.
In some states, policies and programs are spurring investments in manufacturing and deployment of renewable energy systems and energy efficient technologies. in other states, these investments are the catalyst for utility and public policies to support continued growth.
While there has been progress in most southeastern states, the Southeast still lags the rest of the nation in both energy efficiency and renewable energy development. Political leaders and utility executives continue to hold biases towards more traditional energy resources such as coal and nuclear, despite the increased costs and risks associated with these resources when compared with efficiency or renewables.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy continues to advocate for clean energy solutions and healthy communities throughout the Southeast, and will continue to push for solutions that will clean our air, reduce our impact on climate change and strengthen our local economies.
While the Southeast has historically been ignored when it comes to wind energy development, our region has developed a strong manufacturing base with more than 10,000 workers employed at the 90 facilities throughout the Southeast. Moreover, developers are now reevaluating wind potential in the region due to more advanced wind turbine technology that makes it more efficient to generate electricity onshore.Development companies and electric utilities are becoming more interested in offshore wind energy throughout our region as well. Learn more about the Southeast’s wind energy potential here.