Tag Archives: Kemper Coal

Video: Solar panels, heck yeah! –Tom Fanning, CEO, at SO stockholder meeting 2017-05-24

Tom Fanning, our genial CEO host, said some things I’ve never heard him say before like Southern Company is “pivoting towards wind” and SO’s board soon has to decide whether to go forward with Plant Vogtle “or not” probably by August. Fanning gets the first and last word in this blog post, plus a complete transcript of what I asked and Tom Fanning’s response, along with summaries of the other questions and answers.

Well see how it develops --Tom Fanning
Please hear me! I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company

In SO’s own meeting video of the 25 May 2017 Stockholder Meeting, you can see much praise about solar power and wind and R&D and a smart grid, along with stockholders wondering: Continue reading

Georgia Power buys 99MW in two Georgia solar projects

Decatur County scores two big solar projects. When will Lowndes County get a move on in solar? How about some projects like this at your empty industrial parks, Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority? Now that even Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning is bragging about renewable energy, maybe the solar sun is shining enough for other local governments to see it.

Southern Company PR, PRnewsWire, 20 February 2015, Southern Company subsidiary acquires two Georgia solar projects totaling 99 megawatts,

Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power today announced the acquisition of two photovoltaic (PV) solar projects totaling 99 megawatts (MW) in Georgia — the 80-MW Decatur Parkway Solar Project and the 19-MW Decatur County Solar Project — from Tradewind Energy, Inc.

The projects were proposed by Continue reading

The fragility of centralized energy systems

All thermal power generation requires water for cooling, with nukes so vulnerable no private insurer will cover them anyway and failing frequently in recent heat waves. “Natural” gas is no better than coal or oil for water use; maybe worse because all those pipelines vulnerable to backhoes or corrosion or attack. Even hydro is vulnerable to lack of rainfall. Carbon sequestration doesn’t get good marks, while conservation and efficiency get rave reviews from a study of insurance perspectives on power generation. What’s the one power source this article about insurance risks does not say is fragile in the face of climate change? Hint: look up.

Limiting Liability in the Greenhouse: Insurance Risk-Management Strategies in the Context of Global Climate Change, by Christina Ross, Evan Mills, and Sean B. Hecht, Stanford Environmental Law Journal and the Stanford Journal of International Law, Symposium: on Climate Change Risk, Vol. 26A/43A:251, 2007.

Supply-side energy choices that may be made to reduce the carbon-intensity of energy services have their own distinctive liability characteristics. For example, switching to lower-carbon electricity generation technology based on thermal power plant technology (e.g., by substituting natural gas for coal) results in systems that are still heavily dependent on water resources for cooling. The Electric Power Research Institute has documented considerable risks to traditionally cooled power generation systems as a result of climate change-induced droughts.242 Similarly, “zero-emissions” hydroelectric generating systems are also sensitive to rainfall patterns.

242 Denis Albrecht, Electric Power Research Institute, Presentation: Climate Impact on Water Availability for Electricity Generation (April 11, 2006) (presentation slides associated with the Electric Power Research Institute).

Centralization considered harmful

Continue reading

Southern Company downgraded to sell over Kemper coal and Vogtle nuclear

Time to break out of the utility death spiral by breaking away from cost overruns at Kemper “clean” Coal and the Plant Vogtle nuclear boondoggle and getting on with real renewable solar and wind power.

UBS wrote 5 May 2014, Southern Company: Kemper Tantrums; Reducing to Sell,

Reducing to Sell on continued delays for the Kemper IGCC project

With further delays and increased costs for the Kemper IGCC project resulting in yet another $380M of writedowns (further slippage costing $25M/month) and now the likely loss of $120M-$150M of bonus depreciation as well, we view the current premium P/E multiple as untenable. While the Vogtle nuclear project appears to be on track, the presence of two major risky projects, Continue reading

EU could cut 40% emissions with little cost: and we can, too

If Europe can do it, the U.S. can do it. And we know Georgia can get a third of its power from wind, and even Spain is north of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, which have a lot more sun for solar power than anywhere in Europe. Solar power is already winning, even in Georgia. Let’s help it win even faster, plus wind.

PR from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) 16 January 2014, EU could cut emissions by 40 percent at moderate cost,

The costs of achieving a more ambitious EU climate target are estimated to be moderate. Upscaling greenhouse-gas emissions reduction from the current 20 percent by 2020 to 40 percent by 2030 would be likely to cost less than an additional 0.7 percent of economic activity.

And that apparently doesn’t count the additional economic activity that would be produced by all those wind and solar deployments, not to mention related activities like electric cars. This is actually a pessimistic study, because it doesn’t account for such likely positive corollaries.

Many options to choose from—wind power could expand sevenfold

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Solar benefits outweigh costs in NC

And the same is true in Georgia, despite Georgia Power and Southern Company.

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

An independent study published by a nationally known energy consultant asserts that adding 500 megawatts of solar generation in North Carolina would save utility ratepayers about $26 million annually.

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.

Update 2017-04-25: Energy NC seems to have removed or moved its copy of that report, but fortunately SEIA lists it on a backup website, and I’ve linked it into the quotation above, plus a copy on the LAKE website. SEIA also lists many other studies for other states, such as 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. 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.

The study considered two intertwined solar methods: Continue reading

Warren Buffett moves from nuclear to wind

How to get Georgia Power and Southern Company off of nuclear and onto offshore wind and onshore solar power: stop approving Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) rate hikes for nukes that are already a billion dollars over budget and more than a year late. So far Mississippi is doing better about this than Georgia, by capping ratepayer and taxpayer costs for Kemper Coal. Iowa did, and look what happened.

SimplyInfo wrote 23 December 2013, What Power Companies Do When Nuclear Is No Longer An Easy Option, Continue reading

Southern Company missed earnings: weather and Kemper Coal and nuclear Plant Vogtle

SO CEO Tom Fanning continued to blame slow sales and earnings on mild weather (air conditioners running less), but the big boondoggle going bad is Kemper Coal, which has slipped six months from May 2014 to Q4 2014, and even the Wall Street Journal calls it “possibly the most expensive fossil-fuel power plant ever built in the U.S”. How bad will SO’s stock tank when SO’s even more expensive nuclear Plant Vogtle slips even more? Dividends can’t prop up SO’s share price forever, not when PSCs are revolting against the rate hikes and guaranteed profit hikes that prop up those dividends. When will Southern Company and Georgia Power get out front and lead in solar and wind power? Before or after the public, state public service commissions, and investors make them do it?

Justin Loiseau wrote for DailyFinance 4 November 2013, Southern Company Earnings: A $5 Billion Blunder? Continue reading

GA PSC abdicates cost oversight for new nukes at Plant Vogtle

Finish it and then send we the taxpayers and ratepayers a bill? What kind of deal is that? So Southern Company already dodged a Fitch downgrade by delaying a decision, and now GA PSC wants to put it off for years more. That also delays solar deployment in Georgia, putting us still farther behind.

Ray Henry wrote for AP yesterday, Ga. approves deal on nuclear plant costs,

A debate over the rising cost of building a nuclear power plant in Georgia will be delayed for years under an agreement approved Tuesday by Georgia’s utility regulators.

The elected members of Georgia’s Public Service Commission unanimously approved a deal that will put off a decision on whether Georgia Power can raise its budget for building two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH’-gohl) until the first of those reactors is finished. An independent state monitor has estimated the first reactor will be finished in January 2018 at the earliest.

Regulators will continue monitoring company spending but will not make a decision on raising the bottom line budget figure.

So GA PSC will keep watching costs run over budget but will do nothing about it.

Oh, wait, it’s actually worse: Continue reading

VDT links Plant Vogtle nuke cost overruns to Kemper Coal

Even the VDT has caught on to cost overruns for Kemper Coal and the new nukes at Plant Vogtle.

VDT posted an AP article 29 July 2013, Miss. deal may figure into Georgia nuclear plant, and Charlotte Observer posted it the day before, including Ray Henry as the author,

In Mississippi, the Southern Co. utility took financial losses when the cost of building a new power plant went over budget. In Georgia, another of the company’s projects is going over budget, but it has not yet taken a financial hit.

Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power promised utility regulators that it would charge its customers only for $2.4 billion in costs for building a coal-fired power plant in Kemper Country. Those customers will also have to pay off another $1 billion in bonds for the project, though the utility cannot make a profit off that borrowed money.

The utility’s deal in Mississippi has become a point of debate as Georgia regulators consider who should pay for the increased cost of building two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH’-gohl), southeast of Augusta. Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said he wants Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power to consider a Mississippi-style deal here, and Georgia regulators are carefully tracking financial developments in Mississippi.

Echols said he was interested in the idea of a project spending cap.

“I’m sure when they made that deal they didn’t think they were going to over the cap, but they did,” Echols said.

Oh, come now, they went 26 times over budget last time. Why would anyone believe Continue reading