Knoxville, Tenn. (October 4, 2010) – This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). We want to thank all of our members, funders, friends and allies for their ongoing commitment and support in helping our organization play a historic role in shaping a clean energy future for the Southeast and the nation.
We were originally born in 1985 as The Tennessee Valley Energy Coalition (TVEC), were reborn as the Tennessee Valley Energy Reform Coalition (TVERC) in 1992, and finally as the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2000. TVEC and TVERC were primarily Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) watchdog organizations; the majority of our work at that time was focused on making sure TVA proceedings were transparent and holding TVA accountable to its customers. TVEC and TVERC constantly challenged TVA to reduce the environmental footprint of how energy is produced in the Tennessee Valley. SACE’s early, Tennessee-centric efforts were rewarded by TVA’s investment of over $5 billion to clean and retrofit coal-fired power plants over the past 20 years. In 2003, SACE merged with the former Campaign for a Prosperous Georgia (CPG) that shared a similar history and vision. Throughout the last decade, SACE built upon this important work and expanded our organizational focus to encompass our five priority states (Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C., Tenn.) and include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the contiguous block of biologically diverse public lands surrounding it that together comprise the Southern Appalachians, as well as the Southeast’s valuable coastal regions.
Some of SACE’s most notable accomplishments include:
- Strategically partnering with allies to defeat seven proposed new coal-fired power plants, and actively opposing three others in order to protect human health and the environment throughout the Southeast. Our expert staff uses public advocacy to challenge investments in coal, raises legal challenges to questionable air permits, and promotes alternative energy solutions via various media outlets.
- Consistently increasing our sophistication and making greater investment in and prioritization of our energy efficiency advocacy work. We have proven that energy efficiency is a viable solution to energy and climate issues facing the Southeast. Our activism accelerated investment in energy efficiency by Duke Energy in two ways: first through an order to replace one of the Cliffside coal plant units with energy efficiency, and later when Duke tripled energy efficiency investment by agreeing to modify its “Save-A-Watt” program into a more consumer-friendly approach. Over the years we have also seen our work result in significantly increased efficiency goals and targets set by utilities in Florida and the TVA region.
- Advancing the need for state and federal renewable energy targets.
- Playing a key role in successfully advocating for the retirement of old, inefficient, dirty coal-fired power plants. To date, TVA, Duke Energy and Progress Energy have announced plans to retire several thousand megawatts of coal-fired power plants in the Carolinas and Tennessee. This followed SACE’s strategic coordination to force major emission reductions from other existing coal plants region-wide.
- Opposing high-risk new nuclear energy projects in the Southeast. We consistently provide a strong voice for tough oversight and regulation of the nuclear power industry.
- Establishing the city of Knoxville as a Department of Energy recognized “Solar America” city. We continue to lead efforts in advancing both large- and small-scale solar deployment throughout the Southeast.
- Championing clean renewable energy. With expert staff strategically located throughout the Southeast, SACE has become a regional leader supporting clean solar, on- and off-shore wind development, and sustainable bioenergy. Through our partnerships with utilities and local governments, we have been instrumental in creating transparent and accredited voluntary green power pricing programs for energy customers. These programs have led to early utility investments in clean renewable energy throughout the Southeast. Thanks to our advocacy and support, TVA became the first southern utility to employ commercial scale wind at Buffalo Mountain Wind Park, established in 2000 as a 2 megawatt facility and expanded in 2004 to its current capacity of 29 megawatts.
- Promoting international, federal, state and local government action to address global warming by raising a strong unified regional voice on the issue. We participated as a regional representative in international climate negotiations in both Copenhagen and Montreal; provided testimony for the federal climate debate; play a key role in state-level climate proceedings; and have expert staff serving as formal designated parties on state-sponsored climate committees in the Carolinas and Florida. SACE experts have also testified numerous times before state and federal committees on multiple climate and energy related issues.
- Supporting the retrofit of more than a thousand diesel school buses in Georgia with advanced diesel protection controls, thereby protecting thousands of schoolchildren from dangerous diesel fumes. The momentum from this project was then harnessed to support similar retrofits for hundreds of additional vehicles throughout the region.
- Successfully advocating for transparency and strong public participation in the long-range planning processes for utilities. We regularly intervene in Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) processes for southern utilities to ensure that their resulting plans incorporate energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. We also regularly track and intervene in public service commission (PSC) happenings around the region to challenge utilities on high-risk energy pursuits and support efforts to advance clean energy and energy efficiency.
- Coordinating the Southeast Coastal Climate Network and the Florida Climate Alliance to encourage southern coastal constituents from Maryland to Louisiana to take meaningful action to reduce global warming pollution in the Southeast. We also work with municipal governments throughout the region on local climate initiatives.
- Establishing SACE as a carbon-neutral organization.
“It’s been a great honor to provide leadership in the Southeast alongside such a dedicated group of staff members, board of directors, and supporters,” says SACE Executive Director Dr. Stephen Smith. “We look forward to continue building on our success, but recognize that much more work needs to be done. Many challenges still exist that hinder advancement of key policy issues on climate change. Recent events such as the Gulf oil spill show our nation’s dependency on high-risk choices and further exemplify the need to move away from our reliance on dirty energy toward a clean energy future that will make our children and grandchildren proud.”
A non-profit advocacy organization with offices across the Southeast, SACE now staffs more than 30 employees across Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. SACE is supported through private foundation and government grants, major donor gifts and donations from its members. “We are so grateful to all of our members and to the many foundations and private philanthropists who have supported our clean energy work. None of this would be possible and our work would not be as successful without the support of so many dedicated organizations and individuals,” said Rachel Grillo, SACE’s development director.
SACE not only advocates for comprehensive energy legislation throughout the Southeast, but also testifies on national energy policy and promotes and supports the development of clean energy technologies for homes, businesses and transportation.
To join SACE in the continuing fight to ensure a clean energy future, visit www.cleanenergy.org today.