2013: The Year in Review

Stephen Smith | December 30, 2013 | Clean Transportation, Coal, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Nuclear, Solar, Utilities, Wind

Seasons greetings from all of us here at SACE!  Before we take some time to enjoy the holiday season, we wanted to pause and celebrate our accomplishments over the last year.  We couldn’t have done it without your support!

It’s been a great year across the Southeast for much of our important work.  We’ve seen growth in solar adoption in several key states. Notably, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved a motion by Commissioner McDonald to expand the Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) by 525 MW over a couple of years, adding 260 MW in 2015 and 265 MW in 2016.   SACE testified before the Commission in support of solar expansion and applauds this big step forward for solar energy in Georgia.

SACE staff at the Clemson WTDTF grand opening, standing in front of the 15 megawatt turbine test bed.

There have also been many exciting advances for wind development across our region.  We are seeing a growing number of projects put forward that will import wind energy to the Southeast, such as the Clean Line project that would bring up to 7,000 MW of wind from the Plains to Tennessee. SACE has been an important ally in efforts to bring these projects to the region.  We’ve also seen new wind projects proposed that will be based in the Southeast as turbine design technology becomes more advanced to harness the lower wind speeds of our region.   SACE was also thrilled to co-sponsor the grand opening of the Clemson University Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing facility, the largest and most advanced turbine testing center in the world, and a project that will be a magnet for wind related jobs and technological development in our region.

2013 was also a great year for energy efficiency, as technology for bringing energy efficiency to our homes become more widely available and utilities across our region adopted modest energy efficiency policies. Our Clean Fuels Program celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Atlanta retail biodiesel station: the only one of its kind within the city limits and a great resource for providing this clean fuel to the community.  We are also proud to see some of our cities leading the nation on adoption of Electric Vehicles: Atlanta was the third and Nashville was the 9th leading city in the country for purchases of the all-electric Nissan LEAF this year.

TVA's Colbert Plant, which will be retired ahead of schedule

SACE continues to work hard to advocate for a transition away from dirty coal-fired power plants, and were thrilled with the coal retirements announced in the Southeast this year.  The Georgia Public Service commission voted to approve the decertification filing for 1,976 MW of coal capacity.  In addition, the TVA Board of Directors announced in November a decision to retire 3,308 MW of coal capacity from 3 different plants.  SACE applauds both of these decisions as moves in the right direction towards a clean energy economy for our region.   2013 also saw the collapse of the purported ‘nuclear renaissance‘, as several proposed new reactor projects were cancelled and several existing reactors were shut down.

Despite these successes, there will be challenges ahead in 2014.  We must continue to work to retire coal plants throughout our region, to support the Environmental Protection Agency in the development of a carbon pollution rule, and to encourage solar development in our region in the face of utilities’ attempts to undermine this technology.

Meanwhile, 2014 will be an important election year with several key races in our region, including all seats in the House of Representatives and 8 seats in the Senate.  There will be a critical gubernatorial election in Florida that will affect our ability to unlock the renewable market potential in the state.

Your continued support on these projects and for all of our work is critical, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships in the year ahead. Please consider a year end donation to SACE today and thank you!

Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has over 35 years of experience affecting positive change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as…
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