Ask Georgia Power to conserve our water –WWALS to GA PSC

Approved 12 June 2013 by unanimous vote of the WWALS board, Dave has mailed a signed copy to the Georgia Public Service Commission, and I will go read it to the PSC Tuesday morning at 10 AM 18 June 2013, at their hearing about

Docket 36498, Georgia Power Company’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan and Application for Decertification of Various Units
Docket 36499, Application for the Certification of Amended Demand Side Management Plan

Y’all come! -jsq

From: WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
3338 Country Club Road #L336
Valdosta, GA 31605
12 June 2013

To: Georgia
Public Service Commission

244 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta GA, 30334-9052

Dear Public Service Commissioners and Staff,

The recent rains have swollen our blackwater rivers, Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, and Little, under our longleaf pines and Spanish-moss-covered oaks, and filled up the tea-colored tannin waters in our frog-singing pocosin cypress swamps here in central South Georgia. But that was only a dent in our protracted drought that ranges from mild to extreme, with projections not much better.

We do not need more traditional big baseload power plants gulping down our river or aquifer water when solar and wind power use far less, and those renewables are now at grid parity with coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

Power plants are thirsty, as the Union of Concerned Scientists pointed out in a 2011 report, “Freshwater Use by U.S. Power Plants: Electricity’s Thirst for a Precious Resource”.

Much of the water used to cool power plants evaporates, and is no longer available for agriculture or drinking or wildlife or plant use. Even water that is returned to our rivers is returned heated, affecting everything that lives in the river.

A 2012 report by the national River Network, “Burning Our Rivers”, laid out how much water: 7.143 gallons per kilowatt hour for coal, 2.995 for nuclear, and 1.512 for natural gas. Even hydroelectric is very thirsty, 29.920 gallons per KWH, because of evaporation over large lake areas. Meanwhile, solar uses 0.002 and wind 0.001 gallons per KWH: more than a thousand times less than all the old big baseload generation methods.

Our WWALS watersheds do not have any of Georgia Power’s biggest plants, yet our Alapaha River has high arsenic levels; arsenic that may well come from Coal Plant Scherer.

We drink out of the same Floridan Aquifer that underlies Plants Vogtle, Wilson, McIntosh, Kraft, Hatch, McManus, Mitchell, and Robins.

Instead of drawing down our aquifer even further, it’s time for Georgia Power to deploy and to enable others to deploy rooftop solar on house and business and school and government roofs. Rooftop solar needs no water and generates local jobs along with electricity: jobs in installation, shipping, planning, and research.

And it is time for Georgia to join all the other Atlantic states in the U.S. Department of Interior’s Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium, and for Georgia Power to deploy wind power off the Georgia coast. Wind turbines can be installed on time and on budget, and some turbine parts are manufactured right here in south Georgia.

As Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff has been saying for years, the old baseload capacity power generation model is outdated and needs to be replaced with a smart grid of distributed renewable solar and wind energy plus conservation and efficiency. With those real renewables, we can retire more coal plants, and we will need no new nuclear or natural gas plants.

As the Edison Electric Institute, an electric industry think-tank, spelled out in April, distributed solar power, providing peak power at peak time, with no need for new power lines, fuel, or maintenance, is rapidly eatng away at the traditional utility baseload capacity business model.

It’s time for Georgia Power to take a seat at the table with FERC Chairman Wellinghoff and the others who met in May at Princeton to work on turning the disruptive challenge of solar energy into a boon for utilities: and a boon for Georgia.

Researchers at Arizona State University said back in 2010 that Georgia could benefit third most of any state, behind only Arizona and Colorado, in deploying solar power: in jobs, in electricity, in profit by exporting energy to other states. Georgia Power could profit from a percentage for carrying power it didn’t pay to install and it doesn’t pay to fuel, while conserving our south Georgia water.

Trees and water

There is no need to use our Floridan Aquifer water to build more baseload power plants while Georgia lags behind Michigan, Massachusetts, and even tiny New Jersey and Maryland in solar power.

WWALS calls on the PSC to ask Georgia Power to conserve our water and to bring jobs to south Georgia through solar power and wind off the Georgia coast.

Thank you,

Dave Hetzel, President

WWALS Watershed Coalition

One thought on “Ask Georgia Power to conserve our water –WWALS to GA PSC

  1. Pingback: Ask Georgia Power to conserve our water –Garry Gentry for WWALS @ GA PSC 2013-06-18 | On the LAKE front

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