Affordable renewable energy has made coal obsolete

Affordable renewable energy has made coal obsolete

The Trump Administration’s plans to scrap and gut regulations that protect our air, water, natural resources, and the health of our families won’t save coal-fired Plant Washington. The project, which at last count still didn’t have any announced Power Purchase Agreements (customers for the power) or financing, still fails the basic test of economics.  It can’t compete with cleaner, cheaper resources, and for that reason alone, won’t get built. 

Across the country, plans for new coal-fired power plants have been shelved in favor of cleaner, more affordable energy alternatives.

As technology continues to improve, renewables become even more reliable. Coal can’t even compete on price, or job creation, with its fossil fuel cousin, natural gas. In January Bloomberg News reported that wind-farm developers and suppliers had more than 100,000 workers, and the solar industry had two times more jobs than wind power.

Executive Orders can’t waive the required process around a formal rule-making, including  adequate public notice, opportunities for citizens to submit comments, and thorough agency study and review.  For regulations tied up with legal challenges,, rolling back  these essential protections for our air and water could take years.

But the Administration’s attempts to gut protections we all depend on for clean air and clean water does nothing to address the regulatory questions that have circled this project for many years. Plant Washington has not commenced construction, and therefore should be subject to any new source requirements. Because the Administration is legally obligated to follow the formal process to replace the old rule with a new one, Plant Washington will probably require new design features—tacking on yet another expense for a project that has no known customers or financing. Coupled with an increase in the cost of materials since the coal-fired power plant was announced, the project, if ever even built, would be well above the initial 2008 cost estimate of $2.1 billion.

FACE and our partners have remained vigilant in our work since the proposal to build Plant Washington was announced in 2008. Yet almost nine years later, this stalled, unnecessary project is no closer to becoming a reality.

You can support our efforts today by sending a tax-deductible donation to FACE, P.O. Box 591, Sandersville, GA 31082, or visit us online and make a secure donation at faceinfo.org/join-face. Help protect the air, water, and health of our community with a donation today.

Katherine Cummings
FACE

FACE Annual Meeting

Plans are underway for our annual meeting on Monday, October 3,2016 at 6:00 pm. We will meet at Minton Springs AME Church on the Mayview Road outside Sandersville. Come find out the latest on our efforts to protect the health of our area’s families, and our natural resources. We will have refreshments, so please RSVP to stopplantwashington@gmail.com so we can plan to have enough for everyone.

If you aren’t a member yet, or want to renew your membership, support our work by joining or renewing here! We hope to see you on October 3rd!

 

Is Power4Georgians even a company now?
July 20, 2016

It has been more than 6 years since Power4Georgians (P4G) was granted an air permit for its long-lingering proposed Plant Washington. The financial future for the project Washington County leaders lined up behind in 2008, while Washington EMC leaders poured $1Million dollars of their members’ dollars into it, was uncertain at best when it was announced.


Just this year alone, the two largest coal mining companies in America have filed for bankruptcy. Coal is the energy of the last millennium. Renewable fuels like wind and solar continue to drop in price and grow in demand from consumers.


Despite the mounting setbacks for Plant Washington, its developer, Allied Energy Services’ website says it has found ways to sell power to consumers, but the projects aren’t fueled by coal.


In April, 6 long years after it got an air permit for Plant Washington, Power4Georgians went back to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) asking for yet another extension of its deadline to begin construction of the plant.


P4G claims that regulatory uncertainty is the cause for delays it has encountered.


Since April 2012, P4G has known that its status as either a new or existing source was in question.  And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even told the company what it needed to do to resolve questions about its status.


In April 2013, P4G filed a request for status determination, but by November 2013, it withdrew the request without explanation. Instead, P4G now wants yet another extension for its air permit.


Except P4G’s legal status as a company is questionable.


Power4Georgians failed to renew its corporate registration with the Georgia Secretary of State in 2015 and again in 2016 (as of July 13, 2016).

Not only did P4G fail to take care of the two $50 per year renewal registrations with the state, it failed to request renewal of its water discharge permit that was due in March 2015. The state’s Division of Environmental Protection levied a $1,000 fine for the lapse. To our knowledge P4G hasn’t paid the fine, or requested a renewal application, so it has been without a permit essential to Plant Washington for 15 long months.

It looks like no one was minding the shop on Plant Washington while its developer was out selling solar generated power contracts.


The questions about Plant Washington continue to build. The answer from the state should be an easy one: no more renewals for Plant Washington. The clock has run out and there will be no more overtime periods.


Katherine Cummings

FACE (Fall Line Alliance for a Clean Environment)

 

From our partner at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE)

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Read more here.

Georgia has 4th highest power rates in the country

An article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Georgia ranks fourth in the country for high energy costs. Electric power rates for Georgia Power customers must be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. Customers have an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns with the Commission before rates are set. The Commission also approves Power Purchase Agreements for Georgia Southern. Members of Washington EMC (and the majority of EMCS in our state)  are not allowed to comment on power rates before they are set. If co-op member/owners raise objections to the rates they only place to voice those is with the EMC Boar which set the rates. The Public Service Commission has no oversight on our power bills. Continue reading “Georgia has 4th highest power rates in the country”

EPA Issues First-ever Coal Ash Rule to Protect Public Health and the Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a significant step forward Friday when it finalized long-delayed standards for coal ash. The new regulations establish some safeguards to detect and prevent releases of toxic waste from the nation’s more than 1400 coal ash waste dumps, most of which are currently leaking into water sources.

Unsafe disposal of coal ash has contaminated more than 200 rivers, lakes, streams and sources of underground drinking water in 37 states. Several coal ash waste ponds in Georgia are considered to be at high risk for dam failure and/or leaking into nearby water resources including Plant Branch in Milledgville. Coal ash dump sites also omit dangerous quantities of toxic dust into the air that can harm neighboring communities. Continue reading “EPA Issues First-ever Coal Ash Rule to Protect Public Health and the Environment”