Category Archives: Germany

Help Sierra Club send a message to Georgia Power CEO Bowers

Georgia Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign probably contributed to Georgia Power’s recent decision to shut down some coal plants. Now Sierra Club offers a petition to ask Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers to go farther, and replace those coal plants with solar offshore wind power for jobs and health for Georgia.

Dirty Coal is Out, Help Usher Clean Energy In!

Georgia Power recently announced their plans to retire three of their oldest and dirtiest coal fired power plants. Now, we must send a clear message to Georgia Power’s leadership that we want to keep Georgia Jobs by investing in homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency to power our homes and businesses.

Send a message to Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers telling him to replace dirty coal with investments in homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency that can produce thousands of lasting Georgia jobs.

It’s a petition; details here.

Seth Gunning explained why in Sierra Club PR:

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Industrial Authority working for solar in south Georgia @ VLCIA 2012-12-18

The Industrial Authority is working to find locations for some of the 210 MW Georgia Power got the PSC to shift from biomass to solar back in September. That’s a good next step.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT 23 Dec 2012, Solar power push has Authority working to establish connections,

Since the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Allan Ricketts, Projects and Existing Industry Manager, VLCIA, 2012-12-18 Power Company’s plan Nov. 20 to add 210 megawatts of solar power to its electrical grid, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority has been devising strategies to draw solar energy producers to South Georgia.

Georgia Power will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) from solar energy collection and production companies in early 2013, according to the PSC, and the company will contract with the lowest bidders to purchase their energy and place it on the Georgia Power electrical grid for public consumption.

Georgia Power plans to add 90 megawatts to its grid from distributed generation (small companies producing between 100 kilowatts and 1 megawatt), and 120 megawatts of large utility-scale projects producing up to 20 megawatts each. The company plans to price the solar energy at $0.13 per kWh for distributed generation and up to $0.12 per kWh for utility-scale projects, according to the PSC.

This government-approved commercial push for solar energy could be a boon to sunny South Georgia as well as the greater Valdosta area specifically, and the Authority is prepared to accommodate the solar energy producers they expect.

Andrew Schruijer, Executive Director, VLCIA, 2012-12-18 “I think there’s a very good possibility of solar energy coming to South Georgia,” Executive Director Andrea Schruijer said. “Possibly in the near future.”

There’s more in the VDT story. It’s pretty much what Col. Ricketts also told me after the VLCIA meeting Tuesday a week ago. He asked me if I knew what “distributed” meant. I pointed out Georgia Power’s version of distributed was actually not very distributed, compared to Continue reading

Renewables are Winning, Nukes are Dead, and Coal is Crashing

Somebody is willing to read the sunshine writing: Renewables are Winning, Nukes are Dead and Coal is Crashing, as Kathleen Rogers and Danny Kennedy wrote for EcoWatch 14 Dec 2012.

As I wrote back in April when formerly coal-plotting Cobb EMC went solar:

Coal is dead. Nuclear is going down. Solar will eat the lunch of utilities that don’t start generating it.

Can Georgia Power and Southern Company (SO) read that handwriting on the wall? They can’t fight Moore’s Law, which has steadily brought the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy down for thirty years now, and shows no signs of stopping. This is the same Moore’s Law that has put a computer in your pocket more powerful than a computer that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in 1982 and was used by an entire company. Solar PV costs dropped 50% last year. Already all the new U.S. electric capacity installed this September was solar and wind. As this trend continues, solar will become so much more cost-effective than any fossil or nuclear fuel power that nobody will be able to ignore it.

Rogers and Kennedy explained this phenomenon:

The seismic shift in how we all use cell phones and mobile technology to access the internet almost snuck up on the incumbent technologies and the monopolies that made money selling us landline telephones and a crappy service. Now, we’re all using apps on smartphones all of the time. So too, the shift to a scaled, solar-powered future built around the modular technology at the heart of solar power—the photovoltaic solar cell—will come as a surprise to many. We call it the solar ascent, and it is happening every day in a million ways.

Will SO and Georgia Power continue to prop up that 1973 legal wall that inhibits solar financing in Georgia? Companies and even economic development authorities are starting to find ways around it, and of course there’s Georgia Solar Utilities (GaSU) trying to wedge into the law as a utility. After Hurricane Sandy, rooftop solar for grid outage independence has suddenly hit the big time (Austin Energy caught onto that back in 2003). The U.S. military got solar and renewable energy back in Afghanistan and are now doing it bigtime everywhere.

SO and Georgia Power can try to ignore Continue reading

Solar up 50% over last year in Germany

July in Germany wasn’t a fluke: solar PV electricity production in Germany is up 50% over last year. Maybe we hould consider a Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) in Georgia like that in Germany. Unlike the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) charge on Georgia Power bills for nuclear power people won’t get for years, if ever, FIT charges only apply after solar power is flowing.

Bloomberg Businessweek via AP 5 November 2012, German solar power production up 50 pct on year,

The German utilities’ industry association BDEW said Monday the solar power output rose to 25,000 gigawatt hours in the January to September period, from 16,500 gigawatt hours a year earlier.

It says solar power’s share in the country’s electricity production rose to 6.1 percent from 4.1 percent. Wind power gained slightly to 8.6 percent from 8.0 percent. Biomass plants accounted for almost 6 percent.

It says all renewable energies combined accounted for about 26 percent of electricity production over the first nine months.

Germany decided last year to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and replace it with renewable energies.

If you’re tired of Georgia Power and its parent Southern Company pouring your customer and tax dollars down that nuclear pit near the Savannah River, or if you’d just rather have solar or wind power, you can send in your CWIP charge as a separate check, with a note on it. Even if you’re not a Georgia Power customer, you can contact them or Southern Company (or the GA PSC or the legislature) about this.


Valdosta: 3rd poorest city

Valdosta #3! Followed by Albany #4! In poorest cities in the country. What can we do about that?

Michael B. Sauter, Alexander E.M. Hess and Samuel Weigley, 24/7 Wall St., wrote for NBC News 14 October 2012, America’s richest and poorest cities,

3. Valdosta, Ga.
  • Median household income: $32,446
  • Population: 140,599 (87th lowest)
  • Unemployment rate: 9.2 percent(140th highest)
  • Percent households below poverty line: 27.6 percent (ninth highest)

From 2007 to 2011, the unemployment rate in Valdosta increased by 130 percent, from 4 percent of workers to 9.2 percent. The number of employed workers declined by more than 6,000 during that time. Those jobs remaining often pay a lower salary. Last year, nearly 17 percent of the work force was employed in the generally low-paying retail industry, the sixth highest percentage of all metro areas. In 2007, just 11.3 percent of the labor force worked in retail. Valdosta, however, has an improving and active housing market. Home prices rose nearly 12 percent between 2007 and 2011. Despite these positives, 14.4 percent of housing units were vacant last year, higher than the national vacancy rate of 13.1 percent. Also, 15.3 percent of homes were worth less than $50,000 versus 8.8 percent nationwide.

The study is actually for “U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs” and this population is not just for Valdosta, it’s for the Valdosta MSA, which includes Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

Look who’s next on the list:

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Germany Added 543 MW of Solar Power Capacity in July

While we in Georgia were still pouring money down that nuclear pit near the Savannah River, Germany has been getting on with real renewable energy. We could have deployed almost that much solar power with just the cost overruns so far at Plant Vogtle.

Nicholas Brown wrote for Clean Technica 8 September 2012, Germany Added 543 MW of Solar Power Capacity in July,

According to Matt McDermott of Treehugger: “[In] the first half of 2012 Germany has installed just over 4.37 gigawatts of grid-tied solar power. Remarkably just about 1.8 GW of that happened in June alone (perhaps even more remarkable, this isn’t even a record amount for one month in Germany).”

The amount of solar power capacity added in June was much more than July’s, but July’s was still impressive. July’s addition brings Germany’s total installed capacity for the first half of 2012 to 4,900 MW (4.9 GW).

This impressive solar installation rate had a lot to do with Germany’s famous Feed-in Tariffs (FIT), but it also had a lot to do with Moore’s Law, illustrated by that graph of cost per kilowatt rapidly going down.

543 MW? That’s more than the 330 MW of solar the $913 million cost overrun at Plant Vogtle in the first half of 2012 could have bought. 1800 MW in June and 543 MW in July? That’s 2343 MW, which is more than the entire rated 2200 MW output of Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 put together, if they ever get built. Sure, the sun doesn’t shine all the time, but in the years until the nukes ever get built (if ever), how much solar could we deploy at the rate of one Vogtle unit equivalent a month?

Hey, maybe we should cancel Plant Vogtle and deploy solar instead! Maybe Georgia Power and Southern Company will realize their big bet has already gone bad. Or maybe we should elect some Public Service Commissioners and legislators who will get them to realize it.



German solar energy increased 47% in first half of 2012

We could be doing this if we weren't throwing money down that nuclear Plant Vogtle pit by the Savannah River. We have an opportunity today to vote for Public Service Commissioners and Georgia legislators who will represent we the people for jobs, for energy independence, and for profit. Oh, and for clean air and plenty of clean water.

Chris Cottrell wrote for Reuters 26 July 2012, German renewables output hits record high in H1

Solar energy saw the biggest increase, up 47 percent from the previous year. Germany is the world's top market for power converted from solar radiation and its installed capacity accounts for more than a third of the global total.


AP nuclear slant through omission

What's missing in AP's reporting and analysis of nuclear cost overruns?

AP published this Tuesday, News Guide: Nuclear industry facing cost pressures, perhaps as a companion to its story of the same day, Building costs increase at US nuclear sites. Like that story, the news guide is full of accurate and useful information about nuclear cost overruns, and even this good bit of analysis:

Q: Why do building costs matter to customers?

A: Because customers ultimately pay for the construction costs as part of their monthly power bills. The more a plant costs, the more customers will pay.

Yep, Georgia Power customers are already paying through that stealth tax, the construction work in progress (CWIP) charge for new nuke electricity they won't get for years if ever.

Yet something is missing. Can you spot it?


Q: How does that compare with building coal- or gas-powered plants?

Good question, and AP correctly answers that nuclear plants are far pricier than coal or gas plants.

But are those three the only sources of energy? Where is the comparison to solar and wind power?

Well, maybe AP won't do it, but here it is already, Georgia Power deploys 1 MW solar; could have done 330 MW by now. Short version: for less than the amount of federal loan guarantees for Plant Vogtle, Southern Company could have built Georgia more solar energy production per capita than Germany, the world leader, has.

Why are we letting Georgia Power and the Southern Company pour our money down that pit near the Savannah River when they could be spending it to deploy solar and wind for more jobs, energy independence, and more profit for Georgia Power and SO? Oh, and clean air and plenty of clean water, too.


Georgia Power deploys 1 MW solar; could have done 330 MW by now

Let’s compare Georgia Power’s 1 megawatt Upson solar plant with what Georgia Power and Southern Company could be doing if they weren’t wasting so much money on nukes at Plant Vogtle.

S. Heather Duncan reported for the Macon Telegraph, First big Ga. Power solar project comes online in Upson. Yay! Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company (SO) will have a hard time now saying solar power doesn’t work in Georgia. But let’s compare the megawatts and put that in perspective.

Solar Megawatts

That’s right: we could have had 3,000 times as much solar production by now. All SO would have to do Continue reading

Record Georgia temperatures above 100 degrees

Driving north Friday, the temperatures kept getting hotter. John C. Griffin recorded these temperature signs, used here by permission. Friday 29 June 2012:

Record heat wave with triple digits in Macon, Georgia on Riverside Drive at Arkwright Road
Photography by John Griffin (c) 2012 All Rights reserved

I can attest it was still over 100 in Macon after dark Friday.

And it only got worse Saturday 30 June 2012:

Arkwright Road at Riverside Drive – I-75 Exit 169 – Macon, Georgia Record Heat Wave
Photography (c) John Griffin All Rights Reserved

That’s 107 on Friday and 111 Saturday in Macon, where the previous record high for June was 106.

You know, Macon, where Georgia Power is still “studying” and “experimenting” with solar power. Solar power that continues to generate in the heat with no water use. Solar power that Continue reading