Moving Forward with Optimism

With your support, SACE is fully aware, fully prepared, and fully engaged to take advantage of every policy opportunity, inform and engage stakeholders from communities in every socioeconomic sector, and promote smart energy choices that WILL lead to a clean, safe, and healthy future.

Stephen Smith | December 22, 2018 | Clean Transportation, Climate Change, Solar

 

Happy holidays, and welcome to 2019!

Stephen Smith, Executive DirectorSACE is celebrating 2018’s clean energy wins, exploring areas where there is room to grow, and looking forward to our work in the upcoming year. The past year has admittedly presented us with moments that have been challenging, as our current political context remains less than ideal, but at SACE we continue to remain absolutely bullish with regards to our belief that a clean energy economy is accelerating. I personally experience a boost in my own optimism when I see the rate at which clean energy continues to grow, along with public awareness and activism, political circumstances notwithstanding.

Renewable energy growth is mounting; IN SPITE of well-funded opposition and large-scale efforts to thwart its advancement. Here in the Southeast several states are moving forward with increasingly robust programs, despite the lack of leadership from the federal government. Florida installed over 200 MW of solar power in the third quarter, and North Carolina was close behind with a rebound in the same quarter to install 175 MW of utility-scale solar, representing a boost over the earlier parts of the year. Florida continues to lead the region in customer-owned rooftop solar development, and Duke will also encourage rooftop markets in 2019 with renewed rebates to the tune of over $10million. We need more, but these are solid gains in a difficult political environment.

As solar advances, utilities in our region continue to announce coal retirements, and the transportation industry continues to embrace widespread electrification, moving us ever forward toward decarbonization of the transportation sector, even in the face of powerful lobby groups that would profit from the status quo.

While the 2018 midterm elections resulted in a mixed bag for climate and energy advocates, our issues inarguably played a major role in an unprecedented number of regional races this year, and record numbers of voters from previously underrepresented segments of the voting pool came out to show their support for progressive issues nationwide. In 2016 SACE launched a civic engagement dimension to our work. 2018 was the first election year when SACE was on the ground, especially in Tennessee and Florida, in ways we never have been before. We learned so much from this cycle, and we will take these lessons forward as we continue our fight and gear up for races in 2019 and 2020.

My impression is that awareness around climate issues is accelerating in an unprecedented way in our region, IN SPITE of the forces working to deafen ears to our issues. Although some aspects of this year’s NCA Climate Report seem pretty dire, the silver lining is public and media attention around the report underscores the fact that more and more Americans are coming around to recognize the urgency of our situation. The successful formation this October of the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Council, in which SACE played a pivotal role, is a shining examples of this growing awareness. New ideas and bold visions are being debated in our nation’s capitol and across the country.

As awareness continues to spread, solutions are surfacing all around us – new technologies and ideas are continuously being discovered and improved. With your support, SACE is fully aware, fully prepared, and fully engaged to take advantage of every policy opportunity, inform and engage stakeholders from communities in every socioeconomic sector, and promote smart energy choices that WILL lead to a clean, safe, and healthy future.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Our critical work truly would not be possible without it. We look forward to continuing to work together in 2019 and beyond.

 

For the Earth,

Stephen A. Smith, DVM

Executive Director

Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has 30 years of experience effecting change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as its executive…
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