The Southeast Offers a Mixed Bag for America's Clean Energy Future
Let's start with the state of renewable energy in general. Renewable energy is the grand category that all emerging clean energy options tend to fall in. There are many of these and some have been around forever. This series of articles will be primarily focusing on wind and solar. Other technologies include wave capture, hydro (most commonly generated by the usage of dams), algae blooming, methane capture, biofuels, and alternative fuels like ethanol. Many of these come with some drawbacks and there has been considerable public debate around their about deployment. We will not spend our time addressing good technologies versus bad technologies or the pitfalls of emerging technologies.
We will focus on the two fastest growing and proven renewable energies in the country.
Wind and solar have experienced phenomenal growth during the last ten years and should always be considered part of a 21st-century clean energy mix. Currently, solar power and wind energy represents two percent within Georgia's energy portfolio. In contrast, other Southeastern states such as Texas and Virginia show solar and wind as high as eight percent of their energy portfolios.
Why do Georgia's paltry renewable energy investments matter to the outcome of renewable energy in general? Because the last frontier of large-scale renewable energy is here in the Southeast, and Georgia, arguably, is home to the region’s strongest corporate and sustainability communities. And while many parts of the U.S. have large population growth potential, the largest population by region is here in the Southeast. Significantly, the belt label worn these days in the Southeast is manufacturing, not Bible. The Southeast also has the most centralized energy industry, with energy being provided by four of the top ten largest electricity companies in the country. They are Duke Energy, Dominion, Southern Company, and Florida Power & Light.