Signs of Progress and Hope in 2023

Guest Blog | May 18, 2023 | Clean Energy Generation, Clean Transportation, Energy Efficiency, Solar

This blog post was written by former SACE Digital Communications Coordinator, Heather Murphy.

The Clean Energy Generation is making progress every day here in the Southeast. From students advocating for clean energy at the Florida Capitol to billions in investments for electric vehicle battery recycling plants, our clean energy future is becoming a reality.

Take a look at just a few of the signs of hope we’ve seen in the first four months of 2023!

How fighting big retail helped a North Carolina community organize around energy efficiency

Neighbors in Carrboro, North Carolina came together when they learned about grants available to weatherize and preserve affordable housing in their community. The result is the Neighborhood Energy Resiliency Project, which has benefited almost two dozen mostly low-income households. The project provides insulation, attic seals, and other home improvements focused on reducing energy waste and lowering bills. Advocates hope the program serves as a role model for other communities. Read more.

Two metro Atlanta school systems to receive electric buses

Atlanta Public Schools were awarded $9.9M in federal investments for electric school buses. The new electric buses will reduce carbon emissions and improve the health of students riding them.

SACE’s Climate Advocacy Coordinator, Cary Ritzler, shared, “A diesel bus will be emitting fumes as it drives through the neighborhood outside of the bus, and also fumes that come inside of the bus and expose children inside, on the bus, up to four times the amount that a regular vehicle would. An electric vehicle will have none of those emissions.” Read more.

Solar panels are a first for Shelby County government 

A recent ribbon-cutting ceremony revealed solar panels that will power two government buildings in Shelby County, home of Memphis, Tennessee. A rebate through the Inflation Reduction Act reduced the panels’ cost by about 30%. Shelby County officials hope this will be the first of many investments that will reduce the county’s climate impacts.

Pearl Walker, energy justice advocate and Civic Engagement Consultant for SACE, remarked at the ceremony, “We are called upon in this moment to be a part of a generational change for clean energy. Projects like this are an example of how we can pull together to get more clean energy generation and help us build a future we want.” Read more.

Energy savings program in Burke schools hits the $30M mark

Burke County Public Schools in North Carolina partnered with Cenergistic to increase energy efficiency. The school system has installed tankless water heaters, thermostats that are controlled during summer and holiday breaks, and installing LED lighting, and more. Over the years, these changes have drastically cut the district’s utility budget and have saved over $30 million. What’s more? They’ve reduced carbon pollution in the atmosphere (an amount equal to 24,000 vehicles removed from the roads for a year). Improving energy efficiency adds up! Read more.

Redwood Materials announces $3.5 billion EV battery recycling plant in South Carolina

An electric vehicle battery recycling company is building a 600-acre recycling plant outside Charleston, South Carolina. The plant will break ground in the first quarter of this year and bring good, clean energy jobs to the area. Read more.

Florida students advocate for clean energy at the State Capitol

The CLEO Institute and other nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations recently organized a youth clean energy advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol. Over 100 students from across Florida traveled to the Capitol to advocate for clean energy. Youth movements like this help get state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on board with clean energy efforts. Read more.

‘We need to be conservators of our environment:’ New solar panels installed at Frank Long Elementary School

New solar panels at Frank Long Elementary School in Georgia save the school district money and protect against power outages. Teachers will also have access to energy usage data to incorporate directly into science lessons, spurring student innovation. These panels, fully funded by a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority grant, are a win for everyone. Read more.

North Carolina’s Ferry System Explores Going Electric

The North Carolina Department of Transportation operates 21 ferries on seven routes connecting the Inner and Outer Banks. The ferry system moved about 800,000 vehicles and 2 million people in 2020. Two studies are underway to figure out how to operate the ferry system without polluting diesel fuel. Many possibilities are being considered, but electric motors and batteries are the most likely option to power the entire ferry system. Read more. 

Follow Along Each Week

These stories highlight just a few of the positive things happening in our area! Every day we see signs of hope. The Clean Energy Generation is creating a future powered by clean energy that leads to clean air and water, good jobs, and vibrant communities.

Would you like to see more stories like this? We’ve got just the thing for you! Every Thursday, we share the latest clean energy news on Instagram with #CleanEnergyNews. Join us as we celebrate the progress and signs of hope in the clean energy transition.

Join the Clean Energy Generation

Together, all of us who are taking action are part of the Clean Energy Generation movement. We’re coming together to create healthier communities and a more secure and sustainable environment, starting now. No matter your age, income, zip code, or abilities, you can play a role. You don’t have to have the answers, learning more is a great way to start. Join us, and we’ll share ideas, resources, tools, and practices to show how we can all be part of the transformation.

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