A “center of innovation excellence for renewable and sustainable energy in Georgia”?

In a recent message, Brad Lofton wrote “we plan to move on now and focus our attention on new job and tax revenue creating projects.” OK, what are those projects?

Back in September Brad Lofton told me that VLCIA had (beyond whatever Wiregrass LLC is doing) “other renewable green energy projects”, which he then refused to describe.

When I asked about these projects at the 21 Dec 2010 VLCIA board meeting, board member Gary Minchew responded that VLCIA couldn’t talk about sensitive negotiations, but they didn’t want to be secretive. Earlier I had been talking to the fellow sitting to my left about his green energy project and whether VLCIA was going to move forward on it. He pointed out to the board that he and I were facebook friends and linked on LinkedIn. He’s sending me some information; more on that when I get it. Meanwhile, I wonder why the board wouldn’t talk about his project, and I remain dubious that VLCIA has any other “renewable green energy projects”.

In that same meeting, Col. Ricketts and Brad Lofton went on for some time about solar energy, saying they were answering citizen concerns.

As one of the people who has asked them most frequently about solar energy, I have to say their answers did not satisfy me, and that they never asked me whether that was the case, even though I was sitting right there. No VLCIA board member or staff even mentioned my LTE in the VDT the previous day, or addressed any of my specific questions from it without prompting by me in the meeting. Even then the board made it clear (see above) that they weren’t going to talk about new green energy projects (see above). No mention of MAGE SOLAR and its 350 jobs in Dublin, Georgia. No mention of Suniva’s 500 jobs that went to Saginaw, Michigan, a place that has a plan.

Perhaps the VLCIA doesn’t read the newspaper of record. Accepting invitations from board members Gooding and Jennett to contact them with any concerns, I will be sending such concerns directly to the board in writing in future.

Anyway, as I asked in my LTE, What is the Industrial Authority’s plan to bring in real clean jobs? Col Ricketts said in that board meeting that Wiregrass LLC building a solar facility addresses solar concerns, that it is a “key component of our renewable energy portfolio,” and together with the biomass plant it will make us a “center of innovation excellence for renewable and sustainable energy in Georgia.”

That’s right, the biomass plant with 25 jobs and a tiny bag-on-the-side solar plant are VLCIA’s renewable energy plan!

Or maybe they have some secret plan they won’t tell us. Being secretive is not how Solar Valley Michigan got many many more green energy jobs than Suniva’s 500 jobs.