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
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.
Please hear me!
I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company
High noon rally Tuesday and 9AM to 8PM hearings Monday and Tuesday 29-30 July 2014
Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, Main Tower Bridge Conference Area, Conference Room B, 61 Forsyth Street, SW, Atlanta, GA.
Plus you can comment online, maybe about
mercury from coal Plant Scherer
in the Alapaha River and how shifting to “natural” gas just promotes
more fracked methane pipelines like that
Sabal Trail boondoggle.
EPA could take a second step on methane, and we can get on with
faster, cheaper, cleaner, and far more environmentally beneficial
solar power in the sunny southeast.
For details see the
Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer is #1 among the U.S. dirtiest power plants.
But FPL owns most of one of the four units there,
dirtying Georgia’s air for Florida’s power.
The same FPL that wants the fracked methane Sabal Trail pipeline
through Georgia, destroying Georgia’s environment.
It’s time for Georgia to say no to destroying Georgia’s environment
for a company in another state.
Southern Company #1 and #2!
We get most of our electricity from #1 coal Plant Scherer
near Macon, and 1/4 of its power goes to Florida, dirtying our air.
SO says it’s worst only because it’s one of the biggest.
But it still emits more greenhouse gases than any other power plant
in the country.
#2 is only about twice as far away, and it’s also Southern Company.
Luminant Generation Company’s Martin Lake Plant in Texas
Union Electric Company’s Labadie Plant in Missouri
NRG Texas Power’s W.A. Parish Plant
These power plants, said Julian Boggs, Environment America’s global warming program director, “are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming.”
America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,
by Environment America,
says (page 5) Plant Scherer alone produces 0.4% of all U.S. CO2 emissions
and 0.1% of all the world’s. Plant Miller emits almost as much, so that’s 0.8% of U.S. and 0.2% of world CO2
emissions from just the top 2 Southern Company coal plants.
How about we insist Georgia Power and Southern Company get on with solar
power inland and wind off the coast to replace all those coal plants and
the water-sucking nukes, too?
In the early 1990s the U.S. Army discovered hazardous chemicals
dumped at Fort Gillem seeping into residential wells in neighboring
Forest Park. The finding prompted the military to pass out bottled
water and convert many residents to a county water system from their
But two decades and a base closure later, state officials say the
Army still hasn’t done enough to clean up known and suspected
carcinogens that are migrating from groundwater into surface water
and, potentially, into the air residents breathe.
Many Juliette residents have expressed concern that a coal ash pond
at Plant Scherer, one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the
country, might be causing the problem. Georgia Power is majority
owner and operator of the plant and its 750-acre, unlined pond
filled with coal ash slurry, which can contain heavy metals such as
Since then, water samples tested by the Environmental
Protection Agency, as well as a smaller group of samples tested by a
group of University of Georgia graduate students, showed no pattern
of contamination that could be clearly linked to groundwater flow
from the coal ash pond. The samples were taken last year, but in
some cases it took months for the samples to be analyzed….
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.
Not really about jobs, and not about feeding electricity into the grid:
the new biomass plant near Dublin, GA is about saving that company money on electricity: but at what cost to the state and to local residents?
A new biomass power plant announced Thursday is expected to bring
hundreds of related jobs and a direct $95 million investment.
A statement from the office of Gov. Nathan Deal said the plant
itself will bring 35 permanent jobs to Laurens County.
Compare 35 permanent jobs for $95 million to
MAGE SOLAR’s 350 jobs for $30 million.
That’s about $2,700,000 per job for this deal,
vs. $85,714 per job for MAGE SOLAR.
Which would make MAGE SOLAR’s facility more than 30 times more effective
at producing permanent jobs.
Southern Company (SO) is reducing its coal fuming and making the rest comply with EPA regulations, and is surprised to discover that won’t cost nearly as much or take nearly as long as it complained only 8 months ago. But remember SO isn’t even abandoning coal and is shifting to big-plant baseload natural gas and nuclear while avoiding distributed solar and wind power.