The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: southern alliance for clean energy

Friday, 19 August 2022 12:49

SACE belays solar power on Global Climbing Day

MEMPHIS Area residents were invited to a film screening of “Keep the Lights On” and a panel discussion at the Memphis Rox climbing gym with community members, local advocates and policy experts. The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, coincided with Global Climbing Day, and professional rock climbers Nina Williams, Manoah Ainuu (who recently summited Everest), Olympic Silver Medalist Nathaniel Coleman, and Fred Campbell hosted and participated in community and climbing-oriented events prior to the film screening and conversation. 

The film follows Memphis Rox staff member and leader Jarmond Johnson, recounting his experiences with intermittent energy access growing up in South Memphis, his growth into a gang activist and mentorship role at Rox, and, ultimately, working with professional rock climber and environmental activist Alex Honnold (best known for the academy award-winning film, Free Solo) to bring solar energy to the gym. Following the screening, Jarmond and a panel of experts discussed takeaways from the film, and how equitable access to solar energy could help all Memphians keep their lights on. 

— Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Published in Air

TVA 1 2048x1365A hopper car on a train filled with coal to be delivered to a TVA coal-fired plant. John Partipilo/Tennessee Lookout

Climate bill designates TVA as a potential recipient of clean energy investments and loans

This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.

KNOXVILLE  Clean-energy advocates are urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to use funds provided through the Inflation Reduction Act to deliver environmentally friendly energy to Tennessee customers. 

The massive bill Congress passed Friday includes $370 billion for clean energy investments and listed TVA as an entity that is eligible to take advantage of clean energy credits and loans to significantly reduce the cost of energy-efficient infrastructure. 

On Aug. 12, the Clean Up TVA Coalition, including the Sierra Club, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Appalachian Voices, urged TVA to take advantage of the legislation and make funds available to its affiliated local power companies, which can then offer energy-efficient options for customers.

Published in News

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. 

Published in News

methane leaksBloomberg reports that methane leaks from the natural gas sector may be far worse than estimated by the EPA. While replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas ones reduces air pollution it may not help at all with climate change because methane is 30 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2.  Image source: Kayrros SAS

Report: Many utilities are not reducing carbon emissions despite public assurances to the contrary

KNOXVILLE — Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and experience rapid and deep reductions to avoid a potentially catastrophic future, according to a new analysis by air-quality and climate advocates. Emissions must reach net zero by the early 2050s to limit warming to 1.5 degrees (C) in order to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Many utilities and municipalities have acknowledged this dynamic, but the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy s fourth annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast" report highlights that current utility resource plans are not in line with this overarching target. Obstacles to getting utilities on track that are discussed in our report include: increasing reliance on fossil gas, underutilizing energy efficiency, and placing limitations on popular technologies such as rooftop solar. There’s still a lot of work to do before any Southeast utility is on track to decarbonize.

Published in News

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's fourth annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast: Generation and Carbon Emissions” report will be released Wednesday, June 22

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

KNOXVILLE — The report examines power-sector generation and emissions throughout the Southeast, which is home to some of the biggest utility systems in the nation, including Duke Energy, Southern Company, NextEra Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Many of these Southeastern utilities have been in the national spotlight for their professed commitment to decarbonization, but there are often inconsistencies between stated goals and resource plans.

Published in Air
Monday, 07 February 2022 16:52

TVA reopens public meetings to .... the public

3D2A2F6C B919 4295 B244 36D48A4BF9BD 1 105 cA public demonstration in September 2021 in Market Square in Knoxville demanding TVA resume public meetings with reasonable pandemic safeguards. Courtesy Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

After pandemic starts and stutters, TVA finally allows personal public input at meetings

KNOXVILLE

For the first time in nearly two years, the publicly owned Tennessee Valley Authority will host a public listening session on the day prior to its next board of directors meeting.

Since shifting to virtual board meetings in 2020, TVA diverged from other utilities across the country by not holding a single virtual public listening session. In addition, written comments submitted by ratepayers prior to board meetings have not been shared with the media or the public. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 21 December 2021 14:43

SACE works to keep us all warm this winter

This is a submission from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

After public advocacy from Knoxville community members, the KUB board passed a resolution that will deliver $5 million for emergency bill assistance to benefit those most in need, and an additional $1 million for weatherization to improve the comfort of people’s homes while lowering their bills by increasing energy efficiency. These funds are part of a pandemic relief credit from TVA.

KUB staff proposed a resolution in October that would have allocated $1.3 million of the total $7.3 million TVA pandemic recovery credit toward payment of debt owed by KUB customers, and the remaining $6 million would be distributed as a monthly bill credit for all residential and small business KUB customers. This would have resulted in an average savings of $17 over 12 months, or about $1.40 per month for all KUB customers, regardless of their level of need for pandemic relief. 

Knoxville Water and Energy for All (KWEA), a coalition which SACE is a part of, circulated a petition asking that KUB instead forgive all debt owed by KUB customers, and then use the remaining funds to assist households who were struggling to pay their KUB bills. KWEA delivered nearly 200 petition signatures, and the KUB board asked that the resolution be amended. 

As a result of our coalition’s advocacy, the KUB board allocated not only the originally proposed $1.3 million for debt relief, but also the remaining $6 million for customers in need. 

While KUB did not pledge to forgive all debt, this is certainly a major win for the community.

The KUB Board’s decision to reallocate funds demonstrates the power of our community speaking up to advocate for ourselves and our neighbors. 

Published in Feedbag

transportation electrification in the SE 2021 email banner

Because most electricity is generated locally, shifting to electric transportation might save consumers money at the plug.

(This story was reported and written by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy).

Electrifying transportation could provide an economic boon for Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. That’s what the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) reveals in a new analysis, “Retained Transportation Fuel Spending in the Southeast: Electric vs. Internal Combustion Vehicles.”

 

SACE analyzed how much consumers spend on gas and diesel and how much of that transportation fuel spending remains in a given Southeast state and how much leaves. The analysis then looked at what happens if all on-road gas and diesel-powered cars, trucks, and buses are replaced with vehicles that drive entirely on electricity.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT
WATCH THE REPORT WEBINAR

What We Found: $47 Billion on the Table

FUELING TRANSPORTATION IS EXPENSIVE

Southeast consumers spend approximately $94 billion on gas and diesel fuels annually. And because the region has nearly no oil production or refining operations, only about one-third of that amount — approximately $30 billion — is retained in our region’s economy, and the rest leaves to pay for the imported fuels. That adds up to $64 billion leaking out of our region’s economy every year. 

Published in News

IMG 4207Alex Pulsipher holds a sign demanding that TVA transition to 100 percent renewable energy at a rally Wednesday in Market Square in Knoxville. Courtesy Amy Rawe/Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Varied environmental groups offer unified plea for clean energy, coal ash management and accountability from TVA

It was people power generating energy at Market Square in downtown Knoxville on Wednesday.

A coalition of civic and environmental groups and their representatives met at the bottom of the two Tennessee Valley Authority towers urging the public utility to reopen meetings to public comment; swear off all fossil fuels by 2030; and carefully tend to the needs of those affected by coal ash and devise a plan to contain it for the safety of current and future generations.

Published in Air

Attendees raise concerns about coal ash; call for more clean energy, transparency and public engagement from TVA

Nearly 100 people from Tennessee and other states served by the Tennessee Valley Authority joined a virtual People’s TVA Hearing. The hearing on Aug. 4 was organized by the Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement (TVEDM). It included a public comment session and multiple breakout sessions for attendees to discuss specific issues facing TVA and the Tennessee Valley. 

TVA has not held any public listening sessions in a year and a half because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and attendees called on TVA to resume such sessions as soon as possible when the pandemic ebbs.

“TVA talks a good game about being public power but they are simply not walking the walk,” said Barbara Mott of Knoxville. “Hiding from the people is not the answer.”

Published in Air

TVA's 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spillRemember TVA’s 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to retire the Kingston plant and its four other remaining coal-fired power plants by 2035.

But it is seriously considering replacing them with large fossil gas power plants and new gas pipelines!

Natural gas is cleaner than coal, but is yet another fossil fuel source that releases carbon dioxide. Such a replacement would be contrary to the national and global consensus that we must reduce the use of fossil fuels quickly to constrain the runaway climate crisis as much as we can.

A plan based on emerging technologies for increased energy efficiency combined with distributed use of renewable energies and energy storage can increase community resilience; create more good, long-term jobs; diversify local business opportunities; and provide immediate public health benefits.

TVA accepts public comments electronically through the end of July 15, 2021. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to tell TVA that customers don’t want to pay for a yesteryear “solution” that does not really address the clear and present dangers to humanity. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has made it easy for you:  

Submit your comment to TVA by tapping or clicking this link NOW:  

Tell TVA, No New Fossil Gas Plants + Pipelines  

You can also email TVA directly attn: Chevales Williams, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Source: TVA — Kingston Fossil Plant Retirement 

 

Published in Action Alert Archive

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

Associated Press: Activists say TVA spent ratepayer money to sue over pollution restrictions

A coalition of environmental groups alleges the Tennessee Valley Authority provided millions of dollars in dues to a trade group resistant to air-pollution control measures.

TVA officials say the utility's membership in the Utility Air Regulatory Group was a way to help it navigate the complexities of federal pollution regulations, but documents obtained by the clean-air coalition via a Freedom of Information Act request show the now-disbanded trade group spent $3.5 million on legal fees between 2015 and July 2018. TVA CEO Jeff Lyash told Congress in 2019 the utility had paid UARG $7.3 million since 2001.

The committee that approved the legal expenses was co-chaired at the time by a senior TVA manager, and in lawsuits, "the UARG frequently argued against tighter air pollution and climate regulations," according to the AP.

The Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy was among the environmental groups calling for a review of TVA's relationship with the UARG and other trade groups.

(SACE executive director Stephen Smith is a member of the board of Foundation for Global Sustainability. Hellbender Press is a self-supporting project of FGS). 

Published in Feedbag

 

“Our intelligence and flexibility as a society will be tested as the financial and industrial giants all figure out what they’re going to do.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority intends to phase out its aging fleet of coal plants by 2035, potentially replacing the age-old carbon-rich power source with increased use of natural gas and refreshed, concentrated supplies of nuclear energy as the vast utility moves to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan emerged Wednesday, about a month after the Biden administration called on the U.S. power sector to eliminate pollutants linked to climate change by 2035.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is the largest public provider of electricity in the United States. It provides wholesale power to every major municipal provider in Tennessee, as well as other metropolitan areas and smaller utility districts and cooperatives within its seven-state service area.

Published in Air

Apr 24  1-2 p.m. EDT

Natural Resources Defense Council and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Zoom Webinar - Free and open to the public - RSVP

Leilani will take us through the paces in her electric car and explain why she’s an advocate for electric transportation powered by clean energy. Following the virtual ride, Leilani will answer live questions posed by viewers. Make sure to register to hold your reservation.

Published in Event Archive

Apr 21  1–2 p.m. EDT

Heather Pohan & Maggie Shober, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Webinar - Free and open to the public - more details and RSVP

“Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast: Generation and CO2 Emissions,” a report developed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, examines the role electric utilities have played in decarbonizing the power supply over the last decade. The report examines power sector carbon dioxide emissions throughout the Southeast, home to some of the biggest utility systems in the nation.

Published in Event Archive

Apr 20  8 p.m. EDT

Online discussion with Bryan Jacob, Solar Program Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy & Jason Carney, Founder and CEO of Energy Electives
East Tennessee EarthRise and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Zoom Webinar - Free and open to the public

Published in Event Archive

solar on a hillsidea7ed9a9435304bf48f15e8223272129a 

Last year, Knoxville Utilities Board committed to supplying 20 percent of its electricity through solar generation by 2023, through Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Green Invest program. By 2023, KUB will provide 502 megawatts annually of new-to-the-grid solar power to its customers. This represents the equivalent of enough energy to power 83,000 homes. The $1.63 million cost will be paid by a credit provided by TVA as part of its 20-year partnership agreement with KUB.

The announcement was celebrated by solar energy advocates, including the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association, but some environmental watchdogs maintain there are issues with the contracts that local power companies had to enter into with TVA to participate in Green Invest.

Published in Air