Knoxville, Tenn. (February 12) — A report released today by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy demonstrates that the Southeast has sufficient renewable energy resources to fulfill a robust national mandate for renewable energy.
“Yes We Can: Southern Solutions for a National Renewable Energy Standard” confirms that utilities across eleven Southeastern states can tap homegrown clean energy resources to meet a significant percentage of electric power demands. The analysis indicates near-term renewable energy resources can generate more than 15 percent of electricity demand by 2015 and achieve the proposed renewable energy standard (RES) of 25 percent by 2025.
“Our analysis shows that the Southeast can meet the renewable energy goals President Obama has called for,” said John Wilson, author of the report and research director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “With existing renewable energy supplies and untapped potential, the Southeast has the capacity to meet a robust RES using biomass, solar, wind and hydroelectric energy, which will diversify our energy mix, create new job opportunities, improve our national security and reduce our global warming pollution.”
Developing the Southeast’s renewable energy potential will create new economic opportunities and spur demand for a variety of skilled trades and professional careers. In 2007 the University of Florida partnered with the USDA Forest Service and other organizations to analyze the economic impact of a 20 and 40 MW wood-fueled power plant in several Southern states. The study looked at 15 counties in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas and found that, in the Southeast, one 20 MW plant creates an average of 177 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs. A 40 MW plant creates an average of 393 jobs.
“This report dispels the myth that the Southeast cannot meet a strong RES. We can, and in doing so, we will find the economic solutions our region needs as well,” Dr. Smith stated. “Our region’s renewable energy resources are poised to contribute to a clean energy future. The time for delay and distraction is over. Now is the time to develop our region’s renewable energy potential.” # # #