Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

TVA Closing Widow’s Creek Coal-Fired Electricity Plant In Stevenson, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 8, 2015

TVA announced recently the Board of Directors voted to close the last operating unit of 8 coal-fired electricity generating operating units at their Widow’s Creek facility near Stevenson, AL by October 2015.

Especially problematic was the issue of costs associated with storing “fly ash” the toxic residual waste generated by burning coal. While fly ash is used in construction of roads, and in concrete, there is more waste generated than used.

Nationwide, increased “accidents” from accumulated and overfilled swamps of coal ash have polluted rivers and water supplies. Remediation costs associated with cleanup, and repair of waste storage facilities has proven unprofitable for TVA and other coal-burning electricity-generating utilities.

According to Knoxville, TN television station WBIR, TVA has spent an estimated $1.2 billion cleaning up since the [December 2008 Kingston, TN] spill. Coal ash is left over from burning coal to power a power plant.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Solar Energy Farm Announced

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 13, 2015

TVA Announces 80 MegaWatt Solar Farm in Lauderdale County Alabama

At their quarterly board meeting, the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority moved Thursday, February 12, 2015, to adopt resolutions which would allow TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson to:

  • Establish a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NextEra for electricity from its planned 80MW solar farm in Lauderdale County, AL. The installation would be significantly larger than any existing solar facility in the Tennessee Valley.

and

  • Acquire for $340 Million Quantum Utility Generation’s Choctaw combined cycle Natural Gas (NatGas) plant near Ackerman, MS. TVA has been buying power from the 760MW plant since 2008. This would be TVA’s sixth combined cycle plant, with two more under construction, all since 2007.

Confidential terms of the agreements were not released.

Concerning the NatGas plant, Mr. Johnson said, “We can purchase the gas plant for substantially less than it would cost to build one, and the solar power is at a price competitive with other energy sources.”

The board unanimously approved the purchase of Quantum Utility Generation’s 760MW Choctaw combined-cycle power plant near Ackerman, MS, for about $340mn, or $447/kW, half the cost to build a new gas plant, according TVA Chief Operating Officer Charles Pardee.

TVA has bought most of the output of the Choctaw gas plant since 2008. If the deal closes, Choctaw will be the sixth combined-cycle gas plant TVA has purchased or built since 2007. Two more combined cycle plants are under construction.

Since 2007, TVA has built or bought Read the rest of this entry »

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Gone With The Wind: How Alabama’s State Legislature Blew Away $200 Million Of Industrial Development And Jobs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

labama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation PROHIBITING two out-of-state businesses from investing in Alabama & constructing business operations, and hiring. Total Cost of Loss = $200+ Million

By his refusal to act, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley allowed legislation to pass which PROHIBITED TWO Out-of-State Businesses from Investing, Conducting Business Operations, and Hiring in Alabama.
Total Cost Loss To Alabama = $200+ Million

Governor Bentley Refused To Reign In Unfounded Fear Mongering By GOP Dominated Legislature

Fueled by unfounded, unscientific constituency fears, Legislators in Alabama’s state Senate and House of Representatives recently authored restrictive regulatory legislation which made it impossible for a Texas-based business to expand operations in Alabama. Not counting the jobs and salaries lost, the investment cost of the loss to Alabama exceeds $200 Million.

Specifically, Pioneer Green Energy, 802 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 351-3363, planned to spend over $200 Million to build two facilities in Cherokee and Etowah counties to generate electricity, and hire local people to operate and maintain the facilities.

In comparison, Remington Arms – the firearms manufacturer which recently announced relocation to Huntsville, Alabama – will be spending $110 Million, with $38 Million in tax incentives provided by the state.

Pioneer was set to construct 30-45 wind-driven turbines (electricity-generating windmills) in Etowah county at a cost of $160 Million in their NoccalulaWind project. In nearby Cherokee county, they were set to construct 7-8 such windmills, at a cost of $40 Million in their ShinboneWind project.

A series of bills which originated in Alabama’s state Senate, and House of Representatives was effectively, the death knell for the projects.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams, 10th Senate District, Floor of Alabama State Senate

State Senator Phil Williams, a Republican in Alabama’s 10th Senate District, speaks from the Floor of Alabama State Senate. He authored SB 402 & SB 403, prohibitive regulatory legislation which hamstrung $200 Million in Industrial Development and Jobs.

As reported by Conservation Alabama, April 10, 2014, in a column entitled “2014 Legislative Session recap, “Two local bills opposed by Conservation Alabama did pass. Senate Bills 402 and 403 requiring strict regulations for wind energy conversion systems in Etowah and Cherokee counties passed, eliminating any real chance of wind energy in those two counties. After these local bills passed it was thought that Senate Bill 12, a statewide bill to regulate wind energy conversion systems, would make it through with language that superseded the two local bills and included more reasonable and agreed upon language between the two sides. However, proponents of the bill could not get on the same page. Last minute changes to the bill created additional controversy, and the bill ultimately failed to pass in the House and consequently the two local bills will become law.”

Alabama state Senate Bills 402 and 403  were authored and sponsored by Senator Phil Williams, a Republican whom represents Alabama’s 10th Senate District, which includes Etowah and Cherokee counties. By profession, Senator Williams is a lawyer, and in part, he wrote this about himself on his legislative profile/biography webpage: “Phil Williams is the managing member of Williams & Associates, LLC, a law firm based in Gadsden, AL.” His campaign website states this, “His legal focus is largely in the areas of insurance, municipal and corporate defense.” (SB402 may be found online here -or downloaded from this site AL SB402-int– & SB 403 may be found online here  -or downloaded from this site AL SB403-int-)

Here’s Part One of the Grand Hypocrisy. The Alabama GOP website states this about Senator Williams: “One of the most promising freshman Senators in Montgomery is Phil Williams of Rainbow City. He is the proud sponsor of the Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act, which provides tax incentives to new or existing businesses that engage in industrial projects. Sen. Williams said, “This Act will help make Alabama a center of gravity for new and existing business growth, and is another example of our Republican-led senate following through on our campaign promises.””

Why would a State Senator whom sponsored the “Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act” author legislation that FORBADE the creation of jobs?

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), authored regulatory legislation which hampered $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), in green tie & suit, authored regulatory legislation which lost $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

According to an article in The Alabama Reporter written by Brandon Moseley, published 07 June 2013, Senator Williams, who hails from Rainbow City, is seeking a second term in office, and made this remark about his candidacy: “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Senate District 10 these past few years. We have accomplished so much of what the people in our communities said they wanted, and my intent is to continue the fight for conservative values and finish what we’ve started.”

Readers may recall that Etowah county is home to disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore – sometimes popularly known as “The Ten Commandments Judge” – who was removed from office following a hearing November 12, 2003 by a unanimous vote of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Since then, he campaigned for the same office – State Supreme Court Chief Justice – and was elected November 6, 2012.

It certainly seem that folks in Alabama Politics – that’d be the GOP/Republicans – are largely backwards, hypocritical, narrow minded fear mongers who appeal to their equally “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” constituency.

Because while on one hand, they decry “regulation” and “excessive” regulation which they claim constrains business, and free enterprise – and therefore jobs – in the state, they simultaneously enact the very legislation they decry.

It’s called HYPOCRISY. And to be certain, it’s simply defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”

This is a HUGE case in point, that an out-of-state business was prepared to construct and expand business operations in Alabama – from the ground, up. Had leased land, obtained easements, and every other necessary preliminary item to conduct business operations… including hiring professional services in Alabama to prepare for business operations.

BUT!

Wouldn’t you know it? The GOP-dominated Alabama State Legislature (House & Senate) enacted legislation, which passed without Governor Bentley’s signature, which PROHIBITED the businesses from even getting the first bulldozer out to clear land. Seriously.

Think I’m joking, exaggerating, or kidding?

Read on.

Oh… and be sure to thank them in November.

—-

Alabama regs too strict for turbines, says lawyer for wind energy developer

By William Thornton, wthornton@al.com
Twitter: WThorn7
on August 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM, updated August 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

GADSDEN, Alabama — The lawyer for a Texas-based company abandoning plans for two windmill farms in northeast Alabama said today that recently approved state regulations on wind energy led to the decision.

Charlie Stewart, attorney for Pioneer Green Energy, said the company no longer has plans to develop two wind energy farms in Cherokee and Etowah counties. Groups opposing the development announced yesterday they had received word Pioneer Green was relinquishing land leases for the projects.

Pioneer Green Energy announced last year it planned to develop wind energy projects in the two counties, and said land leases had already been secured. Five Cherokee County residents filed suit in an attempt to stop the development, and a group of Etowah County residents also filed suit.

Pioneer Green planned a $40 million project with seven to eight turbines in Cherokee County. The larger Etowah County project would have had 30 to 45 turbines costing $160 million.

Stewart said the company was ready to begin construction when the lawsuits were filed, and the legislation passed earlier this year, which established setback and noise standards.

That bill required the state’s Public Safety Commission to oversee wind farms, mandated that noise from the turbines not exceed an average of 50 decibels, and laid out a setback of five times the height of the tower from the base to the nearest property line. Last year, a company official said the legislation was too restrictive by making the property line the threshold and not the nearest residence or structure.

Stewart said much of the opposition was fueled by “hysteria.”

“The bill was basically Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama residents overcharged for electricity by Alabama Power

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 20, 2013

Despite cheaper production costs, Alabama Power bills higher than Georgia Power

By Ben Raines | braines@al.com
January 20, 2013 at 6:11 AM, updated January 20, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Though it costs less to produce power in Alabama, the state’s residents and businesses pay more for electricity than customers in neighboring Georgia.

The price difference is substantial, according to an AL.com analysis of the annual reports of Alabama Power and Georgia Power, sister companies owned by Southern Co.

Between 2006 and 2011, Alabama Power produced the electricity sold to residential and commercial customers for $1.1 billion less than Georgia Power would have spent to make the same amount of electricity.

But despite that savings, Alabama Power charged its residential and commercial customers $1.5 billion more for electricity than Georgia Power would have charged during the six-year period.

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Grand total
Difference in Alabama’s higher rates versus Georgia Power rates for commercial and residential $181 million $279 million $330 million $316 million $377 million $33 million $1,517,725,500

Alabama Power executives said that it was Read the rest of this entry »

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Huntsville Utilities: Corrupt, or merely incompetent?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 3, 2011

Over the past several weeks – perhaps indeed, months – Huntsville Utilities has come under increasing criticism; most recently for significant changes to their operations and policies.

The Huntsville Times‘ headlines for Friday, July 1, 2011 recently plastered the public utility with the headline “Charity targets utility’s high fees“.

At issue are the utility’s exorbitant rates for establishing initial service and reconnection – which in many cases can be as high as $1000, or more.

The Huntsville chapter of the Society of Read the rest of this entry »

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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs have Mercury!?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Many folks don’t know it, but ALL Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. And while using CFLs throughout the house can and does save a significant amount of money because they use less electricity and last longer, they are initially more costly than traditional incandescent bulbs. And yet, the overall cost difference is significant enough to warrant using CFLs over incandescents.

Make no mistake, mercury is a highly toxic element, though it Read the rest of this entry »

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Taxed Enough Already? Not hardly, says new report.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 8, 2010

So-called “tea” partiers may be disappointed

The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a non-partisan policy analysis and collaborative effort of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, both Washington, D.C. think-tanks, recently reported that 47% of all Americans will not pay income tax for the 2009 tax year.

President Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credits, and his American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) have further reduced income tax burdens on Americans.

Because of his initiatives, more than half of all elderly households, families with children, and other Americans will pay no income tax this year. More than 75% of married couples and single heads of households with income between $30,000 – 40,000 will pay no income tax. And more than 90% of all households with children will have no tax liability this year.

The Tax Policy Center estimated President Obama’s policies significantly lowered the tax burden on average Americans, …Continue…

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