– Nov. 16, 2022 –

Eclipsing solar

Consumer and environmental advocates pleaded with Georgia’s energy regulators for support for rooftop solar last week during a Georgia Power rate hearing. Along with requesting a 12% rate hike, the state’s largest monopoly utility wants to keep at 5,000 the number of solar customers who receive monthly net metering. Solar advocates want that cap increased to allow more Georgians to benefit from a quicker payback for their rooftop investment. Georgia Power also wants to impose a $200 connection fee for solar customers, as the Georgia Recorder’s Stanley Dunlap reports.

Georgia Power’s rebuttal is scheduled for Nov. 29-30. The Georgia PSC then decides on the rate case Dec. 20. The hearings are livestreamed and archived on the PSC’s YouTube channel. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy offers a summary of what’s at stake in a blog.

In the meantime, researchers at Climate Central have put together a tool that shows how much solar energy is produced in an area on a particular day. The chart below shows estimated commercial and residential production for Nov. 16-18 in Georgia’s first Congressional district, which encompasses the coast.

solar electricity generation on Georgia Coast
Solar electricity projections in Coastal Georgia for Nov. 16-18, 2022. National rankings are out of 436 Congressional districts.

Kids can breathe easier

They’re still big and yellow, but some school buses in Georgia will no longer be belching smoke from their tailpipes. About 122 new school buses won’t even have tail pipes as school districts switch from diesel to electric power, as Capitol Beat’s Dave Williams reports.

Pushing the transition along from the current total of one electric school bus in the Peach State is funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and dispersed through Environmental Protection Agency grants.

The Coast’s largest school district, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, has been awarded $9.8 million to replace 25 vehicles in service with electric buses.  In addition to the Clean School Bus Program, the district is deploying electric vehicles for its campus police department.  

electric school bus
Blue Bird showed off its electric school bus at the Clean Energy Roadshow in Nov. 2021 in Savannah.

Cumberland proposes doubling allowed visitors

Cumberland Island National Seashore limits visitors to about 300 a day. But a proposed plan favors doubling that visitation to 600 a day, National Parks Traveler reports. The plan calls for increasing camping opportunities at Sea Camp campground; adding designated campsites in the wilderness area; and building a new trail to provide access to the beach from Nightingale Trail, with nearby restrooms, showers and a pavilion also added.

A virtual meeting to discuss the plan with park staff is set for 6 p.m. Thursday. Links to the meeting and the 270-page plan itself can be found on this page. Public comments on the plan will be accepted through Dec. 30, 2022.

Near Dungeness on Cumberland Island.

If you have feedback, questions, concerns, or just like what you see, let us know at thecurrentga@gmail.com.

Georgia Power is pushed to expand solar program as state regulators consider 12% rate hike request

Georgia Power requests the first of several rate hikes while also proposing to curtail rooftop solar.

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Georgia Power rate hike plan gets days in the sun as utility plans to hand customers the tab

Over the next few months, corporate lawyers, consumer watchdogs and government officials will get their say in a rate case that will determine how much the state’s largest utility provider charges its 2.7 million consumers over the next three years.

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Georgia school districts awarded federal grants for electric school buses

Georgia school systems will receive $51.1 million in federal grants for the purchase of electric school buses, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in October. This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service The Clean School Bus Program, announced last May, is aimed at accelerating the nation’s transition to zero-emission vehicles […]

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More electric buses coming to Chatham County

Chatham Area Transit will soon have a 15% electric bus fleet.

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Mary Landers is a reporter in Coastal Georgia focusing on the environment for The Current. It's a topic she covered for nearly 24 years at the Savannah Morning News, where she began and ended her time...