The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: wind power

UN Climate ChangeA rainbow pierces gray skies during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. United Nations

Climate activists stress positives of Senate climate bill despite its shortcomings 

Amy Rawe is communications director for Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

KNOXVILLE The U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), an estimated $430 billion bill, of which approximately $370 billion will be allocated to investments in clean energy and to address climate change.

It’s the single largest climate investment in U.S. history, and if it passes the House, will put the country on a path to be able to achieve roughly 40 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, reestablishing our influence in meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

If passed, the Inflation Reduction Act will:

  • Give opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in well-paying jobs manufacturing, installing, and maintaining clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation
  • Lower Americans’ cost of electricity by spurring the development of hundreds of gigawatts of low-cost clean energy, including wind, solar, and battery energy storage.
  • Protect drivers from expensive and volatile fuel costs through financial incentives to switch to electric vehicles.
  • Reduce households’ bills through historic investments in rebates and tax credits for home energy efficiency and efficient electric appliances.
  • Promote environmental justice and direct resources and benefits to disadvantaged communities, which are often overlooked for investment and bear heavy costs of fossil fuel pollution.
Published in News

widows creek

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy offers detailed climate action items for fossil-based utilities

A new SACE report shows not only that is it possible for the four largest utilities in the Southeast to achieve 100 percent clean electricity, but there are several pathways to get there. A variety of different energy technologies and programs can be deployed to reach this goal.

The key takeaway is that we need to start now.

clean electricity standard is a policy that requires utilities to use clean energy resources to generate a minimum portion of all energy by a certain date. Since the first renewable standard was passed in Iowa in 1983 states and utilities across the U.S. have a lot of experience with this kind of policy.

As part of federal climate action, the Biden administration and several members of Congress have proposed different versions of a Clean Electricity Standard (CES) that achieves 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. SACE has called for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to lead the way by getting to 100 percent clean electricity by 2030.

To help us understand what 100 percent clean electricity would look like here in the Southeast, SACE staff developed pathways to meet a CES policy for our region’s four largest utility companies: TVA, Southern Company, NextEra (which owns Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power), and Duke Energy.

On Wednesday, June 16, and Thursday, June 17, SACE’s policy staff will host webinars focusing on pathways to 100 percent clean electricity for each of the utilities examined in the report: Duke Energy, NextEra, TVA, and Southern Company, including:

-What a federal Clean Electricity Standard is and how it could be key to kickstarting aggressive decarbonization;

-Multiple pathways with a different power generation mix for each utility to reach net-zero carbon emissions; 

-How distributed resources like rooftop solar and energy efficiency are key to decarbonizing; and

-Descriptions of the method used to develop and test each pathway to clean electricity.

Register for one or more of the following webinars Wednesday, June 16, and Thursday, June 17:

Download the report: “Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in the Southeast: Enacting a Federal Clean Electricity Standard.”

The primary pathway is focused on distributed energy resources (DERs). We found that with significant and sustained investments in DERs, like energy efficiency and rooftop solar, these utilities can achieve a customer-oriented pathway to clean electricity. In fact, these two resources, energy efficiency and rooftop solar, could meet approximately one-third of all electricity needs for these utilities by 2035. In addition to these distributed resources, these successful pathways will also include wind power, large-scale solar, and energy storage.

We found that when utilities have the ability to share resources to meet peak needs and reserve margins, fewer resources are needed overall. In most parts of the country, utilities already have the ability to do this through competitive electricity markets, but not in the Southeast. Having one such market that spans across the Southeast would help the region as a whole achieve 100 percent clean electricity.

Our analysis only looked at existing technologies. While it is good to know that today’s technologies can play a critical role in the pathway to 100 percent clean electricity, and so we must ramp up these technologies immediately, it is also true that investments in technology innovation are important to make it easier to get there. We still need to invest in research and development that can lead to improvements of existing clean electricity technologies and commercialization of new clean electricity technologies. This should not be a question of either deployment or research, both are needed.

Published in Voices
NYT: Fossil-fuel defenders falsely blame renewable energy sources for crippling Texas electric grid collapse

Politicians and media personalities spread lies that cited frozen wind turbines as the reason millions lost power across the oil-rich state during an unprecedented intrusion of cold air in mid-February.

In reality, it was a failure of the natural gas supply chain caused by unusually low temperatures and rare snow and ice accumulations. Some turbines did fail because of ice accretion, but wind power provides only a small fraction of Texas electricity, which is distributed by a deregulated network independent from the rest of the national power grid.

Fossil-fuel allies also cited the unprecedented deep freeze and accompanying winter storms across much of the nation as evidence global warming doesn’t exist.

In fact, climate change fueled largely by carbon emissions means more devastating climate-linked weather anomalies can be expected, both in winter and summer. In this particular event, Arctic disruptions in the jet stream allowed frigid polar air to descend much farther south than it typically does.

Published in Feedbag