Tag Archives: Utilities

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading

Videos: Deep South Sanitation litigation resolution, Animals, MAZ, Water, School @ LCC 2015-06-09

Not on the agenda for the 9 June 2015 Regular Session: settlement agreement for the county’s unnecessary lawsuit against Deep South Sanitation. Commissioners had no questions, but I have two:

  1. how much did the county spend on the lawsuit?
  2. how much did the county end up paying DSS?

Also unscheduled: Recognition of Leadership Lowndes Attendees.

Citizen Billy Rowland had some comments about road grading and wondered how Animal Control could come take his dog from his posted property yet not do anything when he reported barking dogs.

They approved a Scruggs Co. contract for Paving on Coppage Road, which includes curb and gutter to save some of the tree canopy. They approved a Bid for Bemiss Road Mowing even though it’s a state highway, plus a Bid for a Zero-Turn Mower for the Public Works Department from Nashville Tractor. They approved the Bid for a Fire Pumper for Lowndes County Fire Rescue and the LCSO Patrol Car Laptops Lease Purchase and tabled the Lowndes Middle School Utility Service from Valdosta utilities.

Via LAKE open records request, see the board packet item for the complicated Moody Activity Zones Text Amendments to the Unified Land Development Code that were tabled for more time at the Tuesday June 9th 2015 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission. See the LAKE videos of the Planning Commission meeting that considered the MAZ and the rezonings on this agenda. The Shiver and Kinsey rezonings were were approved unanimously with no speakers from the public and no Commissioner comments. The Orchard at Stone Creek rezoning discussion about a retirement home lasted for 14 minutes, including updated maps that were only provided to LAKE on paper, despite a request for electronic copy. See also the agenda and the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session.

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Videos: MAZ, Water, School @ LCC 2015-06-08

Through a LAKE open records request, now you can see the complicated Moody Activity Zones Text Amendments to the Unified Land Development Code, which affect everything from animals to retirement homes. In these LAKE videos you can see the Lowndes County Commission consider that and other matters at their Work Session of Monday 8 June 2015, including Lowndes Middle School Utility Service from the City of Valdosta, two water well and septic rezonings on Mt. Zion Rd and Touchton Rd, and water and sewer for 24 acres of The Orchard at Stone Creek, Tillman Crossing Rd. Plus Utility Relocation for the Replacement of Franks Creek Bridge on Morven Road and many bids, including for Paving on Coppage Road; staff recommends the Scruggs bid. County Manager Joe Pritchard noted many of the bids were related to SPLOST in an effort “to get those projects up and running as quickly as possible”.

Here’s the agenda. See also the LAKE videos of the Planning Commission meeting that considered these rezonings and the MAZ. Continue reading

Water, septic, sewer, utilties, Lowndes Middle School @ LCC 2015-06-08

What are these complicated Moody Activity Zoning Districts amendments to the land development code that involve many maps and tables that county staff are not showing the public, even though one of the stated reasons is residential dwellings and family ties land divisions?

300x346 2379 Copeland Road, Parcel 0165 012, in Lowndes Middle School, by John S. Quarterman, 8 June 2015 What has Lowndes Middle School done for water and sewer until now, when it’s finally asking to connect to Valdosta utilities because Lowndes County utilities are too far away? Plus two water well and septic rezonings on Mt. Zion Rd and Touchton Rd, and water and sewer for 24 acres of The Orchard at Stone Creek, Tillman Crossing Rd. And Utility Relocation for the Replacement of Franks Creek Bridge on Morven Road.

Many bids, including for Paving on Coppage Road; staff recommends the Scruggs bid.

Here’s the agenda, which this time (unlike last) at least does have the one- or two-page agenda item sheets, but is still lacking the rest of the board packet.

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, JUNE 8,2015, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

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Valdosta Wastewater presentation to Greenlaw, Save Our Suwannee, SRWMD, Hamilton Co., and WWALS 2015-03-17

Due to requests from Greenlaw in Atlanta and Save Our Suwannee in Florida, WWALS Watershed Coalition asked the City of Valdosta for a presentation on their wastewater situation. Valdosta presented less than two weeks later, and brought their entire hierarchy related to this issue, from the mayor on down. Plus Lowndes County, which isn’t even responsible for Valdosta’s wastewater, was represented by their Chairman and a Commissioner. Not all questions could be answered that quickly, but many were.

The slides are on the LAKE website and the videos are on the LAKE YouTube channel; see below. See also Valdosta’s Sanitary Sewer System Improvements web page.

At the meeting, clockwise from Tim Carroll (introducing), were: Continue reading

Utilities can’t take the solar heat

Utilities are trying increasingly desperate tactics in their losing battle against distributed rooftop solar power. It’s time for them to get out in front and lead instead.

Clare Foran wrote for NationalJournal Are Utilities Wilting From Heat of Solar Competition?

Regulatory battles over solar power payment models played out in several states this year. And as the dust settles, solar providers are claiming victory. Utilities, on the other hand, are trying to reframe the conversation entirely by insisting they aren’t an enemy of solar.

After discussing utlities’ attempts to bash net metering, she notes the Sierra Club hard-won victory over the ALEC solar tax:

In November, Georgia Power backed down Continue reading

Valdosta Utilities Department 5-Year Action Plan

Received 26 April 2013. Basically Valdosta is accelerating its plans to do something about wastewater, including adding pumpstations and force mains, as well as relocating the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant uphill. Here are the summary pages; there’s much more detail in the plan. -jsq

Utilities Department 5-Year Action Plan:

Since 1992, the City has received $179 million in SPLOST funding and over the same time period has invested nearly $168 million in capital projects for the Water and Wastewater system. This includes SPLOST funding, system revenues, bonds, and GEFA loans.

Since 2009, the Utilities Department has expended over $49 million on sewer system improvement with approximately $5.6 million spent on the Withlacoochee Treatment Plant. When the projects listed below are completed by December 2018, the City will have invested approximately $230 million in capital projects for its Utilities system from 1992 to 2018, a 26-year period.


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Solar could burn utility business model

Exhibit 2 Utilities say that like it’s a bad thing. The same utilities that left millions without power in the U.S. repeatedly last year, and that gouge ratepayers for 10% or more profits. Moore’s Law continues to drive solar costs down and installations up, with increasingly more each like compound interest. Utilties need to adapt or get out of the way.

Last November Moody’s reported that solar and wind were eroding credit for coal and gas power plants, and were already having ‘a profound negative impact’ on the competitiveness of thermal generation companies. That was in Europe. David Roberts wrote for Grist yesterday, Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities,

The thing to remember is that it is in a utility’s financial interest to generate (or buy) and deliver as much power as possible. The higher the demand, the higher the investments, the higher the utility shareholder profits. In short, all things being equal, utilities want to sell more power. (All things are occasionally not equal, but we’ll leave those complications aside for now.)

And they want to produce that power from big baseload power stations for their economy of scale while the monopoly power utilities get guaranteed profits, not to mention huge ratepayer and loan-guaranteed boondoggles like the new nukes at Plant Vogtle. (Electric Member Cooperatives are somewhat different.)

Now, into this cozy business model enters cheap distributed solar PV, which eats away at it like acid.

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Valdosta PR about wastewater issues

The city of Valdosta responds. I have decorated this PR with a few images with links, and a few comments after it. -jsq

Mayor and Council Address Recent Wastewater Issues,

The Valdosta Mayor and City Council are committed to providing quality municipal services that meet the expectations of our citizens. In addition to providing fire and police protection and other beneficial quality of life services, the city leadership is equally committed to providing adequate water and wastewater treatment services to its citizens, maintaining a functioning sewer collection system and discharging treated water in an environmentally responsible manner.

Recently, citizens have been inundated with information about the current state of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection system, as well as the decisions made during the recent flood event. The following information is provided to explain the recent event and to help citizens better understand these important issues and the dedicated work of their elected officials and municipal staff.


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Spilling Sewage Pictures by Gabe Fisher 3:30 PM 24 March 2013

Received yesterday. -jsq

Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 15:43:47 -0400


All, just so everyone is on the same page- the sewer line is currently spilling sewage. It just started at mu house but has been going strong at sugar creek for awhile by the looks of it. Here are some current pictures as of 3:30 today. It will get worse until the river crests..


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