Tag Archives: renewable energy

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

FERC inadvertently clears path for renewable energy via storage 2018-02-15

FERC just let slip the wolves of sun and wind by enabling the storage that those sunny twenty-first-century “aggregated distributed energy resources” (DER) will use to blow down the straw houses of traditional twentieth-century so-called baseload capacity coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson called out the “participation model” Thursday’s twin orders enable, bypassing many traditional charges by accounting for physical characteristics that do not change over time, recognizing that batteries, sun, and wind power are basically different from old-style dinosaur power plants. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee named Senators Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse as proponents of these new rules, which is very interesting since both have long been proponents of renewable energy, and Sen. Whitehouse called out FERC for failing to implement the DC Circuit Court’s Order on greenhouse gases. Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur said “Electric storage is like a ‘Swiss army knife’”. Maybe more like the South Australian storage utility player that has already out-responded natural gas during coal plant outages. Commissioner Richard Glick says sun and wind power “no less than energy storage, have the potential to play a leading role in the electric grid of the future”. None of the Commissioners could bring themselves to say what they all know: sun, wind, water power with storage will be the electric grid of the future. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff and I were right in 2013: solar power will provide more U.S. electricity than any other source by 2023, on the way to complete conversion of everything to sun, wind, water, and storage by 2050.

Frequency response of Tesla South Australian battery
Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy, 23 January 2018, Tesla big battery moves from show-boating to money-making.

Gavin Bade, UtilityDive, Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issues storage, reliability orders, calls conference on aggregated DERs, Continue reading

Pictures: Woods Ferry Tract to Suwannee Springs 2017-05-20

Springs and sand like snow, red and yellow water, chatting as we go, Woods Ferry to Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River, May 20, 2017, with Hands Across the Sand at noon. Even though everyone had a trash bag, there was surprisingly almost no trash to pick up until we got to Suwannee Springs. Here are some pictures, a few videos, and a google map showing the locations.

What is the name of this spring?

Upriver across the spring, Upriver across the spring, 30.3695100, -82.8887100

It’s in SRWMD’s Continue reading

Hands Across the Sand on the Suwannee, 2017-05-20

Here’s Hands Across the Sand on the Suwannee River, with boats, during the WWALS outing from Woods Ferry Tract to Suwannee Springs Saturday.

And tie-dye
Picture by Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS.

Here’s an out-take from the making of, as Gretchen attempted to Continue reading

Here

Lots more pictures now posted of this sunny Suwannee River outing past springs and sand like snow, plus Hands Across the Sand.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Woods Ferry to Suwannee Springs, Outing and Hands Across the Sands, Suwannee River 2017-05-20

Due to low water, we’re moving the May 20th outing downstream! With lunch, swim stops, and bon-bons, of course. Bring bug spray and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. If you don’t have a boat, there are many outfitters, or let us know and many of us have spare boats.

Two outfitters advise there should be enough water on this route to avoid much boat dragging. There is a slight 30% possibility of afternoon thunder showers. Same date, same time, same river: just a bit downstream.

When: 9AM Saturday May 20, 2017, meet to shuttle
10AM: Start paddling
12PM noon: Stop for Hands Across the Sand
   “Say NO to dirty fuels and YES to clean energy”
2-3PM: Finish some time around then

Put In: Mile 158.0, Woods Ferry Tract Launch, in Suwannee County, Florida

GPS of Entrance: to Woods Ferry Tract 30.343508, -82.855187

Paddle Distance: 8.0 river miles

Paddle Duration: 4 hours

Event: facebook, meetup

Shuttle route

Directions to Put In: From Live Oak, travel north on Continue reading

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
and
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 Continue reading