Wind power and the Southern Company –Seth Gunning @ SO 2012-05-23

Seth Gunning from Atlanta spoke at the Southern Company (SO) meeting 23 May 2012 at Callaway Gardens; he was representing the Georgia Sierra Club with 97 shares. SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning graciously greeted him. Gunning brought up health effects of coal plants. Then he talked about two paths.

The way I see it, Southern Company sits at a crossroads. That one path Southern Company continues to drag its feet on the development of renewable energy economies in the southeast. The other path, Southern Company becomes a leader in creating jobs and economic development in clean energy in the south.

He thanked SO for recently partnering with Santee Cooper in the Palmetto Wind Project in South Carolina. It’s curious how there’s been no news whatever about that.

Then Gunning mentioned another wind project:

The state of Georgia is the only Atlantic state not currently working with the Department of Interior to streamline the permitting processes for offshore wind development.

He was referring to the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium announced by DoI 8 June 2010. (Not to be confused with Google’s privately-funded Atlantic Wind Connection.) Gunning asked whether the Southern Company would advocate that Georgia join in on the Atlantic Wind Connection, considering that Georgia has the fourth highest accessible potential for offshore wind development on the entire Atlantic coast, and SO’s own research shows that the levelized cost of offshore wind is near market parity.

SO CEO Fanning said,

Our philosophy is really clear: clean, safe, reliable affordable energy for the benefit of our customers….

Basically he quoted the company mantra. Then he referred to an offshore R&D effort SO started years ago with Georgia Tech, the upshot of which was SO wants to see more low-speed turbines. He never did answer the question about the Department of the Interior and streamlining permitting processes.

Here’s the video:

Wind power and the Southern Company –Seth Gunning
Southern Company (SO) Shareholder Meeting, CEO Thomas A. Fanning, 23 May 2012.
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).