Category Archives: Georgia

Duke Energy solar: NC, SC, and now Florida

Duke’s new solar farms in Florida echo what Duke was already doing three and a half years ago when an independent study concluded more solar power in North Carolina would save utility ratepayers tens of millions of dollars annually.


Duke solar power farm in Perry, Florida, courtesy Duke Energy

John Downey, Charlotte Business Journal, 23 October 2013, Study: Solar benefits outweigh costs in NC,

It notes the gains from solar projects — such as lower transmission and distribution costs, avoided emissions, lower losses of electricity in transmission. The study calculates that such benefits outweigh the costs by 30 percent to 40 percent.

The utility buying most of that solar power in North Carolina is none other than Duke Energy. Parcel 25-01S-11E-1090700.0000 In Florida, Duke just got approval from the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners to build a 62-acre 8.8 MW solar plant next to its Suwannee Power Plant, while shutting down some old natural gas generating turbines, and keeping some newer ones going.

As we learned only a week before at a meeting about the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) required by the Florida legislature, nitrogen runoff from fertilizers is a huge problem in the Suwannee River Basin, and needs to be reduced 80-90% from every source. Duke Energy (or even FPL) could buy power from distributed solar farms on 1030 more acres in Suwannee County and produce enough power to shut down the rest of its gas turbines at that Suwannee River facility, while generating enough power for twice the number of households in Suwannee County. That would remove power plant emissions and use of cooling water, while helping solve the BMAP problem.

No, I’m not recommending cutting down trees for solar panels. Rooftop solar power and solar panels on marginal farmland would make far more sense. As even Duke says, solar panels produce “little to no waste”, which means no fertilizer or pesticide runoff from them. Graze cows, sheep, or goats around them, and the farmer has income from both the solar panels and the livestock, while still needing no pesticides to control weeds. That’s what Sandy Hill Solar of Elm City, North Carolina does, and the utility buying their power is Duke Energy.

Duke by February 2015 had expanded its solar buying into South Carolina, and by October 2015 announced a new solar farm near Perry, Florida, Duke’s second such project in Florida, and operational in Perry by September 2016. Funny how solar plants can go online in less than a year, unlike the three-year-plus permitting process of interstate natural gas pipelines.

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) lists numerous studies about the cost-effectiveness of solar power, including that North Carolina 2013 report, now with a copy on the LAKE website. SEIA also lists one for Virginia which is on the MDV-SEIA website, and now also has a copy on the LAKE website.

For Georgia SEIA lists the testimony of GSEIA before the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2013. See also other testimony at that same GA-PSC session, which resulted in GA-PSC requiring Georgia Power to buy twice as much solar power as it wanted to. GA-PSC did the same again in 2015, which was also the year Georgia Power finally stopped its dozen-year-long objections to fixing a 1970s law, and actively backed a 2015 version of that solar financing bill, which passed unanimously in the Georgia Senate and was signed by the same Georgia governor who had accepted campaign finance contributions from multiple pipeline company PACs. After the bill became law, Georgia Power started selling solar power.

Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Company is also installing solar power in the Florida panhandle through its subsidiary Gulf Power, including three projects at military bases totalling 120 MW.

All that is without even comparing solar power to natural gas pipelines such as Sabal Trail. I did that comparison, and I’m still watiing for somebody to show me any flaws in my arithmetic, which shows that FPL’s ratepayers, now stuck with a $3.2 billion bill for the Sabal Trail boondoggle, could get five times as much electricity through solar power at that price.

For Florida SEIA lists only a very old (2003) study with a broken link, which can be found as a google book, but now would mostly be worthwhile as a museum piece. Duke’s own actions in Florida in 2016 and 2017 indicate Duke Energy knows the sun is rising even on the Sunshine State.

Sure, Duke is going too slow (although not as slow as FPL). Duke’s “strategic, long-range plan to install 35 megawatts of universal solar by 2018, and up to 500 megawatts in the state by 2024” is pocket change for peanuts. Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson’s research project has spelled out what Florida (and each other U.S. state) needs in solar, wind, and water power to run everything, depicted on thesolutionsproject.org and backed up by a hundred-plus-page report.

The people of Florida are demanding more solar power. Tens of millions of dollars in fossil fuel and utility money didn’t convince the voters of Florida to support a fake solar amendment last November. The sun is rising, even on the Sunshine State. All the dirty dollars and all the bought politicians can’t stop it.

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Videos: Coal ash, Calles, Val North PD Water Sewer, Habitat CDBG, Sewage Valves, Stone Creek Antenna, Sheriff, Alcohol @ LCC 2017-03-14

Not on the agenda: Coal Ash and Y-Lead from Hahira Middle School and Teen Explosion. Also Stone Creek train quiet hours.

In a fifteen minute item, the Commission approved a split rezoning for REZ-2017-02 Calles, and they approved the removal of conditions from REZ-2017-03 Val North Dr, Stewart Circle. They approved the CDBG Grant preparation, but they didn’t mention they can’t actually apply until the resolve their feud with the local cities about tax allocation.

Below are links to each LAKE video of the 14 March 2017 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, with a few notes, followed by a video playlist. See also Continue reading

How much solar power could Sabal Trail’s $3.2 billion buy?

The same money would buy a lot more electricity through solar power than that fracked methane pipeline could generate.

Update 2 March 2017: Added tables; fixed some typos.


Ramez Naam, his blog, 21 September 2016, New Record Low Solar Price in Abu Dhabi — Costs Plunging Faster Than Expected

Start with Sabal Trail’s numbers

Continue reading

Georgia Power new acquisition AGL’s Pivotal LNG exporting through Jaxport

Back in May 2015, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers both told me “If we can’t do coal, we have to do pipelines”. I-75 through Atlanta, Macon, Valdosta, I-10 through Lake City A year in the making, Southern Company bought pipeline company AGL Resources. Turns out AGL Resources is also an LNG export company, exporting through Jacksonville by LNG containers on trucks. And the plot thickens with the pending corporate takeover of CSX Railroad by the former CEO of Canadian Pacific, given that CSX depends a lot on carrying coal, which remember is what Southern Company is rapidly getting away from. Could CSX want to carry LNG? Meanwhile, LNG containers are already rolling down I-75 and I-10 to Jaxport, apparently through Atlanta, Macon, Valdosta, and Lake City.

Southern Company PR, 1 July 2016, Southern Company and AGL Resources complete merger, create a leading U.S. energy company, Continue reading

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Video: Nydia Tisdale thanks her supporters

We asked Nydia Tisdale to say a few words about her recent legal situation, and here’s what she said.

See previous post for context of what she’s talking about, and of course Nydia’s website About Forsyth and her YouTube channel.

Continue reading

Visiting Nydia Tisdale

Update 2016-10-19: And we asked Nydia to speak directly through YouTube.

Here’s Nydia Tisdale with her picture on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Gretchen and I dropped in on Nydia Sunday afternoon in Roswell, GA. Needless to say, we support Nydia. She usually doesn’t even provide commentary with her video reports, yet when videoing public meetings she’s repeatedly faced obstruction from people who don’t seem to know the First Amendment, nor even the Four Amendment, much less Georgia’s Open Meetings Law.

Chris Joyner, AJC, 6 October 2016, Ga. citizen journalist faces possible jail time, Continue reading

Sabal Trail protests continue –VDT 2016-09-23

Front page today in the newspaper of record in the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin: the WWALS protest against DAPL and Sabal Trail at the US 84 Withlacoochee River bridge last Saturday, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA.

Vdt Desiree Carver, Valdosta Daily Times, Friday, September 23, 2016, front page, Sabal protests continue,

The WWALS Watershed Coalition stood on the bridge between Brooks and Lowndes County Saturday to show solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline opponents in Dakota and to continue its battle against the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline.

That’s the US 84 bridge over the Withlacoochee River, on the Continue reading

A clean energy future is already arriving –350.org & LNS

I’m thankful we’re already on the way to a clean energy future, Big Light bulb with more jobs, less expense than doing nothing, no new nukes, no coal at all, much less natural gas, no need for any new pipelines, better health, clean air and water, and profit. The COP meeting in Paris can do what it will, and we can still make a better world and profit by it. We’re already doing it, with solar and wind power, energy efficiency and conservation,

The Clean Energy Future: Protecting the Climate, Creating Jobs, Saving Money, by Frank Ackerman of Synapse for LNS and 350.org:

[M]eeting the IPCC targets will… create more jobs and save money.

This report, Continue reading

Natural gas leak so bad VDT notices it

Sempra Energy’s California leak stinks so bad the VDT smelled it from 3,000 miles away. But GA Gov. Nathan Deal still can’t smell Sabal Trail over campaign contributions from Sempra and from Spectra Energy.

Brian Melley, AP, 25 November 2015, Utility plans to mask awful odor from uncontrolled gas leak,

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A utility trying to stop a monthlong leak at a massive natural gas storage facility near a Los Angeles neighborhood said it planned to use a mist to mask the sickening stench as work continues — possibly for three more months — to plug the well.

Even the 9-inch pipeline to Berrien County Continue reading