What is your plan? –jsq to VLCIA board

I just sent this. -jsq
From: “John S. Quarterman”
To: Brad Lofton
Cc: [see below]

Since I know of no public email address for the VLCIA board, I’m asking Brad Lofton to distribute this to the board before their meeting tomorrow.

Dear Board,

This is an update to my previous question to you, which was published in the Valdosta Daily Times, 20 Dec 2010, available online here:


I’m sending this letter directly to you, and also publishing it online,


What is the Industrial Authority’s plan to bring in real clean jobs?

Your staff have claimed that Wiregrass Power LLC’s tiny solar plant plus their biomass plant will make us a “center of innovation excellence for renewable and sustainable energy in Georgia.” Is that all?

If so, let me make a few suggestions.

One of your panelists at your 6 Dec 2010 event said that “solar doesn’t cut it” and that to build a solar plant with the same output as the proposed biomass plant would require 400 acres. It might take that many acres, but Austin and Houston, Texas are doing it on housetops and business roofs, and the power is available when it is needed most: on hot summer days when people are running air conditioners. There are at least two companies right here in Lowndes County that could start with that right now; all that is missing is political will and financing.

Houston, which gets less sun than Valdosta, also goes into neighborhoods and asks homeowners whether they want their houses refitted for insulation and efficiency, and then goes back and does the ones that say yes. This employs a lot of local contractors.

Meanwhile, places like Austin, Houston, and Dublin, Georgia (with its MAGE SOLAR plant with 350 jobs), Raleigh, North Carolina, and Saginaw, Michigan (where Suniva’s PV manufacturing plant with its 500 jobs went) didn’t stop with tiny plants with 25 jobs and didn’t recruit larger plants through secrecy. Dublin wears green, Saginaw calls itself Solar Valley, and in each case business, academia, government, and the public work in concert.

The only reason anyone can claim that Wiregrass Power LLC’s tiny solar plant will be the biggest in Georgia is because Georgia lags far behind Texas, Florida, and North Carolina in solar. This is an opportunity to actually be the leader in clean energy for Georgia. Currently Hahira has that distinction, with the only two recent domestic rooftop solar PV installations around here. Think what they could do if the Industrial Authority helped!

I see by your full page ad in the VDT and Brad Lofton’s continuing speaking tour that you are willing to do publicity. Why not do it for real clean energy, and on a much larger scale?

Maybe you could pursue some of these ideas. Maybe you have others that are better. At your last board meeting Norman Bennett told us the problem was disunity in the community. You can work out with the community something worth uniting behind.

What is your plan?

John S. Quarterman

Here’s who I copied. -jsq
Cc: “John S. Quarterman”, “Michael G. Noll”, “Mary B. Gooding”, “Ricketts, Allan”, “Copeland, Roy”, “Susan R. Wehling”, Kay Harris