Footnotes Issue #85: July 18th, 2014
Tuesday, July 29 - We'll Make History in Atlanta
In our last issue we told you about President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which will for the first time limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. To set Georgia’s 2030 carbon reduction target, EPA looked at Georgia’s ability to improve efficiency at existing plants, utilize already built natural gas plants, and bring online more renewable energy and energy efficiency. Based on these factors, it was determined that Georgia should reduce carbon by 44% from 2012 levels.
Georgia is off to a solid start, with our largest utility adding increasing amounts of wind and solar generation to its portfolio in recent years. By 2017, Georgia will already be producing approximately 900 megawatts of solar power and importing 250 megawatts of wind generation – enough to power around 173,000 homes annually, according to conservative estimates. While this is a great starting point, Georgia has significant potential to incorporate additional wind and solar resources into the energy mix for our state in amounts above and beyond what the EPA has proposed for the state.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia has the potential to generate 13,079,729 megawatt hours (enough to power nearly one million homes annually) from renewable energy resources by 2030, under conservative estimates. That doesn’t count out-of-state renewable energy resources like Midwestern wind, or wind resources off the coast of Georgia.
In addition, Georgia has great untapped potential to save energy, lowering costs for consumers and avoiding or deferring the need for expensive new power plants. In 2013, Georgia Power saved around .4% (or 380 mwh) of annual energy sales through efficiency, while Georgia Power’s sister subsidiary in Florida, Gulf Power, helped customers save three times as much. There is no reason why Georgia cannot save as much and more rapidly and profitably. Notably, one and a half percent (1.5%) annual energy savings relative to sales by 2020 is the benchmark for every state, including Georgia, in the Clean Power Plan. The proposal is expected to reduce customers’ electric bills by eight percent (8%) on average, and saving energy through efficiency is one of the most cost-effective compliance strategies for the proposed regulations.
Win! Coastal Marsh Buffers Protected by Courts
Our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center, Georgia River Network and American Rivers scored an important victory yesterday when the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that all state waters are protected by a 25-foot buffer, effectively undoing the Earth Day reversal of coastal marsh protections. Thanks to all who weighed in with the Governor's office on this issue. Look for us to ask you to contact your legislator in January to support a bill that will clarify that coastal marshes need buffer protection.
Jason Carter said, "I welcome this decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals. I opposed the rule change, and the court was right to stop the Deal Administration in its tracks. Once our natural resources have been destroyed, there’s no going back. As Georgia's governor, I look forward to working with the legislature to continue to protect our coast for my kids and for future generations of Georgians to enjoy."
Sierra Club Meetings
Wildlands Committee Meeting, Monday, July 21, 7:00 p.m.
Smart Energy Committee Meeting, Monday, August 4, 7:00 p.m.
RAIL Committee Meeting, Monday, August 11, 7:00 p.m.
July 19th - Panther Creek Falls Hike and Swim - Join us for a 6.8 mile round trip hike and swim at Panther Creek Falls! Panther Creek Falls is a high volume, powerful affair that dumps over a large and ragged rock face into one of the largest pools in the Georgia mountains. The majority of the trail is flat and shaded with only a few steep inclines. We will hike to the 70-foot waterfall, where we will then spend a couple of hours swimming before heading back to the trailhead. For more information, click here.
July 23rd - Sierra Club & Beer: Atlanta Climate March - Every other month, Sierra Club and Beer provides a space and great beer from Marietta-based Red Hare Brewing Company for meeting like-minded people, while learning something new. This month, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign will discuss the upcoming Atlanta Climate Rally around the EPA proposed Clean Power Plan--the first ever national plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal plants. Join us to learn more about the rally and march we are organizing for hundreds of people during the hearing! Click here to register.
August 2nd - Sierra Club 101 - You joined the Sierra Club to help protect the environment -- now what? Come learn about the Sierra Club and how to get involved in our local efforts. Open to members and non-members alike--bring a friend! Please register here so we can bring enough refreshments for everyone!
Save the DATE! September 21st - People's Climate March - In September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history. In New York City there will be an unprecedented climate mobilisation – in size, beauty, and impact. Our demand is a world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. In short, a world safe from the ravages of climate change. Click here to get more information about the march.
Interested in reading more?
If you have missed an issue of Footnotes Online you can view them in our archive by clicking here. You can also sign up for alerts in order to take action at times when we need decision makers to hear from you. We need your help!