There are persistent myths in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. One such myth – promoted by the coal industry and their utility friends – is that the Southeast doesn’t have any renewable energy resources. This myth appears in different forms – from renewable energy resources are too expensive or too diffuse, to the excuse that they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Contrary to these myths, Southeastern states are endowed with abundant renewable energy resources and efficiency opportunities. In fact, some states are shipping good, clean energy overseas, while burning dirty coal that is imported from far away, draining our wealth away from local economies.
This past summer the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report called “Burning Coal, Burning Cash,” exploring these issues. The report highlights that many Southeastern states are spending more than most to import coal, creating a $10 billion coal habit for our region. This week, SACE has joined UCS to launch a new web tool that offers a fun, interactive way to learn about where our power comes from, where it goes, and where our energy dollars are spent. It’s a clever online quiz – Who’s Got The Power? You Do! Take the Quiz Now!
One of the issues highlighted in the quiz is the following crazy equation:
The Southeast imports billions of dollars worth of coal, while exporting millions of tons of renewable energy in the form of woody biomass pellets. The result is that we take on more pollution while our state economies leak wealth. Thus, we are enriching coal mining companies and making our waters and lungs polluted while other countries and states get our clean renewable resources. Southeastern utilities are writing checks that effectively send one of every two hundred dollars in regional economic output to other states and countries.
This new web tool covers lots of bases, especially emphasizing energy efficiency, and it does so with a generous dollop of humor. The important part of this new tool is that it offers the opportunity to learn more about your local utility company and Take Action by writing to them, your legislators, or helping stop new coals plants from being built in our region. We highly recommend this new web feature, and hope that you’ll share it with all the folks you know via Facebook, Twitter, and email! So go now! And take UCS’s fun new quiz to learn about the sometimes outrageous choices utility companies make about how to power our lives.