Tag Archives: Profit

Beneath Woodland, NC solar

There’s more to the North Carolina solar town story: they have already approved other solar farms, one of which is almost built, and they approved the one in question once it was moved to a different location. And there are real reasons they are concerned about solar farms; reasons which solar developers can address (unlike pipeline companies).

Snopes reviewed the original story and found it mostly true. The town of Woodland posted its own update 14 December 2015, which clarifies what they were up to, concluding: Continue reading

Citi agrees fixing climate change is profitable

Save more by acting to fix climate change, on similar overall investment for trying to deal with unfixed effects, says Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS). Save more on similar expense: that’s profiting by fixing climate change. Fastest way to do that with least expense: deny all new pipelines, all LNG export, and end fracking.

Dana Nuccitelli, Guardian, 31 August 2015, Citi report: slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars: A report from America’s 3rd-largest bank asks why we’re not transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Continue reading

Alabama Power wants more renewable energy due to corporate customer demand

Southern Company’s subsidiaries are all turning to the sun! Even that titanic ship is affected by the tugboats of its corporate customers.

Ari Phillips, ClimateProgress, 16 July 2015, This Massive Utility Wants More Renewable Energy Because Corporations Are Demanding It,

In June, Alabama Power, one of the country’s largest electricity providers, filed a petition with the state’s Public Service Commission to add up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy over the next six years. The utility, which serves over 1.4 million customers in Alabama, cited customer demand as a primary reason for adding all this renewable energy — specifically corporate customers.

“This program was driven by conversations with customers looking to meet renewable mandates pushed down from their headquarters,” said Tony Smoke, Alabama Power vice president of marketing, in a statement announcing the request. “As a service provider, our focus is to make sure we are providing customers access to choices they want.”

It’s like Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning said in May Continue reading

Fixing climate change is profitable

Batteries are just one of many reasons, including electric vehicles, smart grid, solar and wind power (including pass HB 57 and you can profit by getting financing for your own solar panels), plus massive savings on health care and electricity bills; batteries are one of many reasons that fixing climate change will save us all money, clean up our air and water, expand our forests, preserve property rights, and make some people rich:

In fact, a recent report suggests that revenue from the distributed energy storage market — meaning battery packs and other storage devices located directly at homes and businesses (many of which now generate electricity through solar) — could exceed $16.5 billion by 2024. Another report predicts $68 billion in revenue in the same time frame from the grid-scale storage market. This includes large-scale battery packs, hydro-storage systems that use cheap abundant electricity to pump water uphill to drive turbines later on, or even solar thermal systems that store energy as heat in molten salt.

And it’s all happening fast, so fast your jaw will drop if you’re not paying attention. So let’s stop talking about the costs of fixing climate change. It’s not just no-cost and free, not just in the future but right now; we’re all actually going to be better off through fixing climate change: healthier and more prosperous.

Sami Grover wrote Continue reading

Solar vs. fossil fuel stocks

Should Harvard President Drew Faust worry that “Significantly constraining investment options risks significantly constraining investment returns”? Actually, if Harvard has been wasting investments in oil and gas for the past year, its endowment has lost a bundle. Ditto VSU.

Let’s compare stock performance of Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN) which invests in solar stocks with the PowerShares DB Energy Fund (NYSEARCA:DBE), which invests in oil and natural gas companies. Yep, that’s 120% for TAN and 0% for DBE:

TAN solar v DBE oil and gas 1 year

Sure, if you go back farther, solar stocks continued to drop after 2009 until this year: Continue reading

Southern Company only building nukes because they’re not paying, we are –Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy said he’d be for nukes if they were safe or economical, but they are neither, while solar and wind are both. After calling the pro-nuke movie Pandora’s Promise a hoax, he addressed “safe” by pointing out the movie’s claimed former anti-nuke leaders were never leaders while major nuclear utility executives are indeed now anti-nuke leaders. (For example, I met former TVA Chairman S. David Freeman in DC where he was testifying against nukes.) Then Kennedy tore into Southern Company’s three-legged nuclear boondoggle and pointed out solar and wind are winning even against massive distortions in the economic playing field caused by public service commissions letting regulated utilities make the rest of us pay for their profits on uneconomic nukes.

Andrew Revkin posted on Youtube 19 June 2013, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. & Director of Pandora’s Promise Spar Over Nuclear Power,

The last nuclear power plant constructed in the world was in Finland. It cost about $11 billion a gigawatt. Now I’m involved with construction right now of one of the largest power plants that’s in north America which is in the Mojave Desert, and it’s a solar thermal plant, and it’s costing about $3 billion a gigawatt….

There’s no individual and there’s no merchant utility that will build a nuclear power plant, because they’re so expensive. You can’t make money on it. The only ones who will build them are regulated utilities like the Southern Company in Georgia… because they make money by spending money. They get reimbursed for their capital costs plus 12 or 15% per year. So they’ll construct it once they get approval from the public utility commission. Then they want to spend as much money on their capital costs because they’re not paying for it. You and I are paying for it.

I don’t think Bill Gates, or I saw Paul Allen was one of the funders of this film, that they’re going to spend their own money building one of these [nuclear] plants….

You could make energy by burning prime rib, but why would you take the most expensive way to do it.

And by last fall, the cost per gigawatt of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels was already under $3 billion per gigawatt so distributed solar PV makes just as much sense as massive desert thermal solar, and both make far more economic sense than nuclear. Plus costs of solar PV keep going down, pushing solar deployments up like compound interest, while nukes always take years to build and always cost more than budgeted. Southern Company is the king of nuke cost overruns, going 26 times overbudget per unit on Vogtle 1 and 2 and already 19 months late and about a billion dollarsoverbudget on Vogtle 3 and 4. Then there are the safety issues: a failed nuke can be Chernobyl or Fukushima and many nukes leak radioactive tritium into groundwater and vent radiation into the air, while a failed solar plant is a bunch of glass.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr wants a level playing field for solar and wind I got into the [solar] industry to show that there was an alternative and that the alternative was economically viable. And not only that, on a level playing field, if we weren’t giving them the subsidies to the incumbents, our technologies would beat them and soundly. They simply couldn’t compete.

He called the movie’s claims that solar and wind don’t work one of the movie’s many big lies because even without a level playing field we already built more solar and wind power in this country last year “than we did all of the incumbents combined”. Plus you’ve got to fuel fossil or nuclear plants, not to mention the toxic waste issues, while once you build solar or wind “it’s free energy forever”. Kennedy also pointed out the electric grid in the U.S. could be rebuilt to deliver solar and wind power as needed for less than has already been spent on breeder reactors that are no longer in use. The filmmaker made no attempt to rebut any of Kennedy’s points about existing solar and wind technologies that already beat nukes, coal, and natural gas, instead going on about pie-in-the-sky modular reactors.

This all illustrates why the Georgia Public Service Commission needs to stop letting Georgia Power and Southern Company suck radioactive profits at the public teat and make them get on with replacing coal with solar instead of letting old coal plant sites sit unused for more than a decade. Oh, and GA PSC needs to halt the Plant Vogtle nuke boondoggle, which is even worse than Southern Company’s Kemper Coal plant in Mississippi as a huge transfer of wealth from the people of the state to a monopoly.

GA PSC: Doug Everrett (1: south Georgia), Tim Echols (2: east Georgia), Chairman Chuck Eaton (3: metro Atlanta), Stan Wise (5 north Georgia), Bubba McDonald (4: west Georgia)

A monopoly that is supposed to be regulated as a public service. By the Public Service Commission whose Commissioners accept massive campaign contributions from employees and law firms of the utilities they regulate. It’s time for GA PSC to bat away the haze of coal smoke and the radioactive taint that surrounds them and go to bat against corruption and for the people of Georgia.


How can we get Georgia to move ahead in solar power?

If we can’t expect Georgia Power or Southern Company to change their tune about solar power, what can we do? Legislate and raise public pressure, while getting on with installing what solar power we can.

Maybe it’s time to pass something like HB 267 that would limit Georgia Power’s profits on that 19-month-late and $1 billion over budget nuclear boondoggle at Plant Vogtle. Instead of pouring more money down that broken concrete pit on the Savannah River, we need something like GA SB 51, The Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act, to fix Georgia’s special solar financing problem, the antique 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act. That’s the 40-year-old antiquated law that SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning says “we need to protect”. Maybe SO does, for Fanning’s huge raises in compensation. Georgia Power and SO are not only defending that antique law, they’re preventing a Georgia Renewable Portfolio Standard (REPS) by stopping passage of bills like HB 503. Georgia Power, SO, and super-lobby ALEC systematically oppose renewable energy standards. They do this so successfully there are no REPS in Southern Company (SO)’s service territory, nor in most of SO’s surrounding “Competitive Generation Opportunities” states. One of the few exceptions is North Carolina, and a bill was introduced there to eliminate NC’s REPS.

Maybe it’s even time to do something about Georgia Power’s 11% guaranteed profit. Isn’t Georgia Power supposed to be a utility operating for the good of Georgians? Why does it get a guaranteed profit to pass on to Southern Company shareholder dividends and SO executive bonuses?

Georgia Power and even Southern Company could suddenly flip for solar power like Austin Energy did in 2003 and Cobb EMC did in 2012. But that probably won’t happen without a lot of public pressure, legal requirements by the Georgia legislature or PSC, or a shareholder revolt. So let’s start with the public pressure….


$1.88 billion and more on Kemper Coal to be charged to Mississippi Power customers

Risks at Southern Company’s Kemper Coal plant in Mississippi? Push those costs onto the public, of course! Southern Company and its subsidiary Mississippi Power got the MS Public Service Commissioners to approve super-CWIP (Construction Work in Progress) for Kemper Coal: automatic rate increases for MS Power customers for years. Just like Southern Company and its biggest subsidiary Georgia Power got the Georgia legislature to approve Super-CWIP for the new nukes at Plant Vogtle back in 2009. And both CWIP projects are already over budget. How about we cancel those boondoggles and build solar and wind instead?

AP reported 13 December 2012, After spending $1.88 billion, Southern Co. still faces risks on plant in Kemper County,

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Already: Solar grid parity without subsidies in India and Italy

Solar power is going so well worldwide that Deutsche Bank has just increased its projections for global demand, noting that India and Italy have already in 2013 reached grid parity without subsidies with other sources of energy, and it expects the rest of the world to follow as early as 2014. The big winner is rooftop solar. Is Georgia paying attention?

Becky Beetz wrote for Global PV 26 February 2013, Deutsche Bank: Sustainable solar market expected in 2014,

Buoyed by bullish demand forecasts, and increasing utilization rates and pricing, Deutsche Bank forecasts a solar market transition from subsidized to sustainable in 2014. Italy REC solar photovoltaic plant

The German bank has raised its 2013 global solar demand forecast to 30 GW — representing a 20% year-on-year increase — on the back of suggestions of strong demand in markets including India, the U.S., China (around 7 to 10 GW), the U.K. (around 1 to 2 GW), Germany and Italy (around 2 GW).

Rooftop installations are, in particular, expected to be a main focus, says Deutsche Bank. A trend for projects being planned with either “minimal/no incentives” has also been observed, despite the belief that solar policy outlooks are improving, particularly in the U.S., China and India, and “other emerging markets”.

More analysis by Jeff Spross in ThinkProgress 3 March 2013, Solar Report Stunner: Unsubsidized ‘Grid Parity Has Been Reached In India’, Italy–With More Countries Coming in 2014.

As Renew Economy also points out, this is the third report in the past month

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Levy Co. FL nuke likely not to be built

Cost already sunk Kewaunee, Calvert Cliffs, Crystal River, and are gnawing away at San Onofre: now it looks like new owner Duke is not likely to build Progress Energy's Levy County, Florida reactor. All that plus even in Georgia, even against all-powerful Georgia Power, there's a reaction against the cost of the always-later always-more-expensive new nukes at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River. A reaction that's getting written up in the Valdosta Daily Times.

In the VDT today from AP, Some leaders souring on nuclear power costs. I'm quoting from the abcNews version because it includes the author's name, Ray Henry, and the original date, 3 March 2013. I added all the links and images.

As the cost of building a new nuclear plant soars, there are signs of buyer's remorse.

The second-guessing from officials in Georgia and Florida is a sign that maybe the nation is not quite ready for a nuclear renaissance. On top of construction costs running much higher than expected, the price of natural gas has plummeted, making it tough for nuclear plants to compete in the energy market.

In Georgia last week, Southern Co. told regulators it needed to raise its construction budget for Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia by $737 million to $6.85 billion. At about the same time, a Georgia lawmaker sought to penalize the company for going over budget, announcing a proposal to cut into Southern Co.'s profits by trimming some of the money its subsidiary Georgia Power makes.

And Southern Company and Georgia Power slipped the Plant Vogtle schedule still more, from 15 to 19 months late.

The legislation has a coalition of tea party, conservative and consumer advocacy groups behind it, but faces a tough sale in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. GOP Rep. Jeff Chapman found just a single co-sponsor, Democratic Rep. Karla Drenner.

That's HB 267: Financing costs; construction of nuclear generating plant. And AP failed to mention Georgia Sierra Club's support for HB 267.

As a regulated monopoly, Georgia Power currently earns about 11 percent in profits when it invests its own money into power projects. Chapman's legislation would reduce those profits if the nuclear project is over budget, as is the current projection.

In Florida, there's a move to completely eliminate Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) such as is being used in Georgia to pre-fund the new Plant Vogtle nukes.

In Florida, lawmakers want to end the practice of utilities collecting fees from customers before any electricity is produced.

Florida only recently got CWIP, but Progress Energy has been quick to profit by it:

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