Increased Renewable Energy Options Proposed for Alabama

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Photo Courtesy Southern Company

We received some exciting news on the energy front on Tuesday when Alabama Power announced a plan to provide up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy, mostly from solar energy. 500 megawatts is enough to power 100,000 homes at peak sun intensity, and would increase the percentage of Alabama Power’s energy generated by renewable resources to between 10% and 15%. This proposal is now before the Public Service Commission, where there will be a hearing and a vote later this summer.

In a statement released on July 15, Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) praised Alabama Power’s plan for being both environmentally friendly and economically fair. The proposal adheres to the Public Service Commission’s requirement that customers do not subsidize renewable energy unless they have actively opted in to renewable programs.

According to Alabama Power, this proposal is in response to requests for more green energy options from current and potential clients. More companies are making renewable energy a part of their business model, and the plan to increase solar power in Alabama could serve as an incentive for companies to locate here in our state. The proposal covers projects that generate up to 80 megawatts each, which would streamline the process of getting those projects up and running by eliminating the need to get each one approved individually by the Public Service Commission.

While the plan announced this week focuses on larger-scale solar options, there are several ways to support renewable energy through your local power company. If you are a property owner and an Alabama Power customer, you can install rooftop solar panels to generate your own power. You can also purchase Renewable Energy Certificates through Alabama Power or Green Power Switch blocks through TVA, which help alleviate the costs of renewable energy without passing that cost on to other customers.

This is the beginning of what we would like to see as a long-term change in how our state produces and uses energy. Renewable energy means cleaner air and water for all Alabamians. This is an exciting step forward for Alabama, and a win for our environment, our economy, and our communities.

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