Renewables in GA Vexed by Proposed Federal Policy

Guest Blog | January 15, 2013 | Press Releases

Atlanta, Ga. (January 15, 2013) – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy released a new white paper today evaluating the effects of proposed national “Clean Energy Standard” legislation. The white paper, which relies on government data from the Energy Information Administration, provides an in-depth analysis on how various energy mixes would impact Georgia and Alabama’s electricity supply in the future. Notable findings include:

  • As estimated by the Energy Information Administration, Georgia and Alabama are slated to receive approximately 95% of their electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants by 2035.
  • Under a proposed Clean Energy Standard, Georgia and Alabama would continue to receive approximately 94% to 92% of their electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants by 2035, but nuclear energy would become the predominate source of electricity.
  • Renewable energy resources, like wind, solar and biomass, could supply approximately 7% of the region’s electricity by 2035 under a proposed Clean Energy Standard.
  • Under a proposed Clean Energy Standard, electricity rates in Georgia and Alabama may increase between 16%-21% above a business-as-usual scenario.

A Clean Energy Standard has been suggested as a policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most CES proposals require or at least incentivize a certain percentage of “clean energy” generation by a certain date. Nuclear, natural gas, carbon capture and sequestration for coal plants as well as renewable energies (such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and biomass) may qualify as viable sources to fulfill a Clean Energy Standard. Once the qualifying resources are determined (e.g., nuclear, renewables, natural gas, etc.), a standard is set requiring a certain percentage of all electric generation be provided by those qualifying resources (e.g. 80% of U.S. electricity demand or generation is met by qualifying clean energy sources by 2050). Previously, both Republican and Democratic senators have proposed Clean Energy Standard legislation. President Barack Obama has supported a Clean Energy Standard concept in the 2011 and 2012 State of the Union (SOTU) addresses, and may do so again in this year’s SOTU or Inauguration address. SACE’s full white paper on proposed Clean Energy Standards is available for download here (PDF, 2MB). A single-page factsheet for Alabama and Georgia is available for download here (PDF). # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.