Salute for less coal; how about third-party solar? –Mark Woodall @ SO 2012-05-23

After saluting Southern Company (SO) for burning less coal, Mark Woodall said he was very disappointed to see Georgia Power fight so hard to prevent homeowners from using their own private property to generate and sell solar energy. He quoted SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning’s oft-repeated remark that Fanning is “bullish on solar”. Fanning proceeded to define “bullish” as pie in the sky bye and bye.

We remain very bullish on solar. When we think about renewables, I think renewables are exceedingly important to this nation’s future. My sense is until we see significant technology innovation, my sense is that that will probably very late in this decade or beyond that, we still are gonna get by far the lion’s share of electricity from central stations.

Then he said he was bullish on thin-film solar. Some time in the future or “one day” when it becomes economical.

We’re seeing more solar elsewhere in the United States, particularly in California, the desert southwest, and there’s really good solar resources. And in the northeast a little bit, strangely enough.

The Department of Energy says the U.S. has plenty of solar energy everywhere, especially compared to world leader Germany, which is at the latitude of Alaska. Even Buffalo is south of Germany. Fanning proceeded to account for the U.S. northeast by higher electricity rates. I wonder how that explains North Carolina.

Then he brought up Georgia’s franchise law “that we need to protect.” That appeared to be a reference to the Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act of 1973. I’m not surprised SO needs to protect that, since that’s the law SO and Georgia Power got passed 40 years ago that currently keeps you from generating electricity at your house and selling it to somebody elsewhere: why would SO want that competition? But maybe you would like that competition.

Here’s the video:

Salute for less coal; how about third-party solar? –Mark Woodall
Shareholder Meeting, Southern Company (SO),
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia, 23 May 2012.
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).