Tag Archives: Cobb EMC

Pam Davidson is running for Georgia Public Service Commission

Pam Davidson is running for GA PSC District 5, challenging incumbent Stan Wise in the Republican Primary. In this video she spoke to the Cobb County Republican Party, first emphasizing that she wouldn’t take money from regulated companies, and then she spoke about those new Southern Company nukes:

The largest economic development project in the southeast is the two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Now you may say, “I’m a Cobb EMC customer.” Well, when Georgia Power, as the largest regulated utility in the state builds a new facility, often that serves as a merchant facility, or Georgia Power will sell it to the EMCs. So indirectly the Commission votes on EMC issues.

According to Oglethorpe Power the statewide consortium of EMCs of which Cobb EMC is the largest,

Oglethorpe Power is a 30 percent owner of Plant Vogtle’s existing Units 1 and 2 and will own 30 percent of the two new units as well.

Back to Pam Davidson:

But you want to be very very careful about those nuclear plants. And we have problems, ladies and gentlemen. We have problems with nuclear reactors 1 and 2. And all those problems are really cost problems. I am in favor of nuclear energy. I think it’s a great source of energy. However, nuclear energy cannot survive a rennaissance if it’s so expensive.

Here’s the video:

When I spoke to her recently, Pam Davidson said:

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Sidewalk snaps up behind coal in Georgia: Snapping Shoals EMC drops Power4Georgians

Only a few months ago, Cobb EMC pulled out of Power4Georgians and their coal plant plans; now Snapping Shoals EMC does the same. The sidewalk is indeed snapping up behind coal in Georgia. As once again customers of an EMC decide to run for its board. Southern Company and Georgia Power, are you listening? Not just about coal; also about those new nukes.

The insurgent candidates have a facebook page, Smart Energy for Snapping Shoals.

PR yesterday from Georgians for Smart Energy, Snapping Shoals EMC Backs Away From Risky Coal Plant Venture

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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

Clean green jobs for community and profit

Tell me who doesn’t want clean jobs for energy independence and profit?

“Environmental sustainability… can lead to more and better jobs, poverty reduction and social inclusion,”

The above quote is Juan Somavia in an article Stephen Leahy wrote for Common Dreams 1 June 2012, For an Ailing Planet, the Cure Already Exists,

Germany’s renewable energy sector now employs more people than its vaunted automobile industry.

No wonder, when German solar power produces more than 20 nuclear plants. How many jobs? According to Welcome to Germany 13 April 2012, Renewable Energies Already Provide More Than 380,000 Jobs in Germany, which cites a report from the German government,

The boom in renewable energies continues to create new jobs in Germany. According to a recently published study commissioned by the Federal Environment Ministry, the development and production of renewable energy technologies and the supply of electricity, heat and fuel from renewable sources provided around 382,000 jobs in 2011.

This is an increase of around 4 percent compared to the previous year and more than double the 2004 figure.

“Current employment figures show that the transformation of our energy system is creating entirely new opportunities on the job market,” said German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen.

“It is the major project for the future for German industry. This opens up technological and economic opportunities in terms of Germany’s competitiveness as an exporter and location to do business.”

Wouldn’t we like some of that here in sunny south Georgia, a thousand miles south of Germany?

Back to the Stephen Leahy article:

Globally, the renewable energy sector now employs close to five million workers, more than doubling the number of jobs from 2006-2010, according to a study released Thursday by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The transformation to a greener economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of millions of workers out of poverty, concluded the study, “Working towards sustainable development”.

Everyone will benefit. Everyone can benefit starting right now.

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Fixing the illusion of certainty in Georgia Power’s decision-making

Why is it so hard to get a company like Georgia Power or The Southern Company to get on with solar and wind power for clean energy, for national energy independence, and, most importantly to such corporations, for their own profit? Why instead do they keep investing in coal and natural gas and wasting our tax and customer dollars on nuclear financial boondoggles? Why did Cobb EMC back new coal plants until they had their nose rubbed in national shame about corruption and do nothing about solar until their shareholders revolted and changed a majority of their board? We don’t even need to wait for that forensic audit the new Cobb EMC board wants to get the big picture. Such companies consider what they’re used to to be low risk, and anything new to be risky. Why are they so stodgy, and how do we change that?

These companies have many decades of experience with coal and natural gas, so they consider them less financially risky. (Details like neighbors dying disproportionately from cancer cost a little bit to buy up property, but that’s nothing compared to readily predictable profits.) Even nuclear such companies consider not risky to them, since they’ve got the federal government and their own customers guaranteeing all the financial risk through Construction Work in Progress charges on their bills for power they’re not even receiving from the new nukes and agreement from Georgia PSC that cost overruns like those caused by concrete sinking into the dirt can be passed on to the customers.

Neal Stephenson wrote for World Policy Journal September 2011, Innovation Starvation,

The illusion of eliminating uncertainty from corporate decision-making is not merely a question of management style or personal preference. In the legal environment that has developed around publicly traded corporations, managers are strongly discouraged from shouldering any risks that they know about—or, in the opinion of some future jury, should have known about—even if they have a hunch that the gamble might pay off in the long run. There is no such thing as “long run” in industries driven by the next quarterly report. The possibility of some innovation making money is just that—a mere possibility that will not have time to materialize before the subpoenas from minority shareholder lawsuits begin to roll in.

But if the old ways turn out to be suddenly risky, change can come. Funny how Cobb EMC changed its tune after subpeonas started raining down for its former CEO Dwight Brown. Sure, he got off on a technicality, but it turns out Cobb EMC shareholders didn’t like Continue reading

Southern Company wants even more special nuke loan terms

Southern Company wants even more special loan guarantee terms for its new Plant Vogtle nukes. When that or CWIP gets revoked, maybe Southern Company will see that solar is a lot less trouble, and more profitable.

The license authorized by the NRC 9 February 2012 for the new Plant Vogtle nukes is the first one in thirty years. Harvey Wasserman wrote for CounterPunch 18 April 2012, The Big Liability,

It’s about a proposed $8.33 billion nuke power loan guarantee package for two reactors being built at Georgia’s Vogtle. Obama anointed it last year for the Southern Company, parent to Georgia Power. Two other reactors sporadically operate there. Southern just ravaged the new construction side of the site, stripping virtually all vegetation.

It’s also stripped Georgia ratepayers of ever-more millions of dollars, soon to become billions. This project is in the Peach State for its law forcing the public to pay for reactor construction in advance.

Look on your Georgia Power bill for Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery Rider, aka Construction Work in Progress (CWIP). It’s probably about 3% of your bill, for power you may never receive.

If you get your electricity from an EMC instead, remember Georgia’s Electric Member Corporations already participate in the existing Plant Vogtle nukes, so you’ll be on the hook one way or another for the new nukes.

When the project fails, or the reactors melt, the public still must pay.

And even before then, Georgia Power customers get to pay for cost overruns. Not to worry; last time nukes were built at Plant Vogtle, they only ran over budget by a factor of seven.

Southern Company’s existing Plant Vogtle reactors had an unexpected shutdown last year days after NRC said they were fine. And Southern Company says Continue reading

Austin Energy changed from anti-solar to pro-solar in one year

At the end of 2003, Austin Energy (AE) suddenly went from very anti-solar to very pro-solar. Formerly coal-smoking Cobb EMC is doing it right now. If AE and Cobb EMC can do it, so can Georgia Power: change in one year from opposed to aggressively promoting solar power.

Mike Clark-Madison wrote for the Austin Chronicle 5 December 2003, AE drops a solar bomb,

In a near-complete turnaround from its public position just a week ago, Austin Energy has announced plans to adopt specific, highly ambitious, and undeniably expensive goals for adding solar energy to the Austin electric and economic mix. At a town hall meeting held Tuesday night to discuss the AE plan — also the subject of a public hearing at City Council today (Thursday) — AE’s Roger Duncan announced the utility’s commitment to develop 15 megawatts of solar generating capacity by 2007, escalating to 100 megawatts by 2020. The AE plan also calls for a study of the “comprehensive value” of solar power — putting a dollar amount on the economic and environmental benefits to Austin, in addition to the cost of solar-generated electricity itself. This would determine the price Austin Energy would pay for electricity generated by privately owned solar installations, just as AE now buys wind power from third parties.

Georgians tend to think Georgia Power’s foot-dragging and disinformation campaign about solar is so entrenched it will never change. But I’ve seen it happen, and it happened despite people’s expectations set by the power utility, and it happened very quickly and very big:

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We’re just ripe for solar power –Cobb EMC

We already saw that private investment is funding a 100 acre 10 MW solar farm with Cobb EMC as a customer. What does that mean for Cobb EMC’s direction? How big is Cobb EMC, anyway? And what does all this mean for Georgia Power, and for solar power in Georgia and all the jobs it can produce? What does it mean for everyone running for the Georgia legislature?

Chip Nelson, CEO of Cobb EMCKristi E. Swartz wrote for the AJC 16 April 2012, Solar project could be a catalyst for more if policies allow it,

“I always thought solar power was something further out for Georgia. We just weren’t in the right time,” said Chip Nelson, chief executive officer of Cobb EMC. “The way things have been moving in the utility industry, particularly the last two or three years, I find that we’re just ripe for it.”

Ripe indeed! Coal is dead. Nuclear is going down. 30 MW solar farm near Austin Solar will eat the lunch of utilities that don’t start generating it. It’s time for utilities to get out in front and generate their own solar power. Austin Energy continues to show the way in Texas with a 30 MW solar farm. Now Cobb EMC can do the same for Georgia.

Nelson isn’t some fresh outsider: he’s a Cobb EMC lifer. According to Patty Rasmussen in Georgia Trend February 2012, Power Players: Taking Over At Cobb EMC,

Nelson worked for Cobb EMC for 37 years, most recently serving as chief operations officer. He stepped in as interim CEO in February 2010 and decided to apply for the full-time position.

And Cobb EMC is not small. According to Kim Isaza in MDJonline.com 20 July 2011 New Cobb EMC chief Nelson ready to ‘turn page’ on past costly litigation, divisiveness,

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Private capital funding 100 acre 10 MW solar farm with customer Cobb EMC

So Cobb EMC can do something other than coal, and can do it without wasting EMC customers’ money! Private investment is funding a 100 acre solar farm with Cobb EMC as customer.

Urvaksh Karkaria wrote for Atlanta Business Chronicle 12 April 2012, Smart Energy, Jacoby Development plan 100-acre solar farm in Georgia

A 100 acre solar power farm — billed as the largest in in the state — is planned for middle Georgia.

Smart Energy Capital and Jacoby Development Inc., inked a power purchase agreement with Cobb EMC to buy generation from the 10 MW solar farm to be built in Davisboro, Ga. The project, expected to go online in summer 2015, will generate enough power to light up about 1,500 homes.

Smart Energy Capital, a solar development and finance company, and Jacoby Development, will develop, finance and build the facility. The power generated will be sold to Marietta, Ga.-based Cobb EMC.

Imagine if instead of wasting Cobb EMC’s money on a coal boondoggle that Cobb EMC had moved ahead with this sooner.

But it’s finally starting to happen anyway:

Despite anemic subsidies, the absence of a renewable energy portfolio and, what some claim is Georgia Power Co.’s halting embrace of solar power, the Peach State is attracting solar development.

That’s right, in spite of Georgia Power.

Hey, what if Georgia Power stopped dragging its feet and got on with solar for its own profit?


Insurgents win majority on Cobb EMC board

According to the Cobb EMC board election results, even without two runoffs, four new members were elected yesterday, so added to the 4 new members elected in November, that’s 8 out of 10 members opposed to coal plants, opposed to corruption, and for transparency.

Kim Isaza wrote for MDJOnline today, Four new Cobb EMC directors elected,

Four more seats on the Cobb EMC board of directors are now in new hands, and two more will be settled in unprecedented runoff elections on April 21.

The winners are: Rudy Underwood, who was unopposed in Area 2; Kelly Bodner in Area 3; Bryan Boyd in Area 8; and Eric Broadwell in Area 9.

One runoff will be for Area 4, where Jim Hudson won 681 votes (42 percent) and David McClellan won 601 votes (37 percent). There were eight candidates competing in Area 4.

The other runoff will be for Area 5, where Tripper Sharp — one of the plaintiffs to the 2007 lawsuit against the EMC — got 775 votes (46 percent), and Charles A. Sevier got 502 votes (30 percent). Nine candidates were vying for that seat.

To quote from Rudy Underwood’s platform:

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