The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

1 month ago

Rejecting the Joe Biden energy plan and the Green New Deal

(Jeremy Oden, Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

Energy is a resource that we cannot ignore. It is a crucial part of our everyday lives in America. When we flip the lights on in our homes, we do not worry about them working, we expect them to work. That is called “Reliability” in the utility world. Well, that is no longer the case in some parts of America. The reason for that is radical left policies that have been the groundwork for the Green New Deal – a move to unreliable, uncontrollable and expensive energy production.

And as your Public Service Commissioner, I am very worried about it! Look at California. Between 2011-2018, electricity prices rose 27% more in California than they did the rest of the country. During that time, California’s carbon emissions rose 3.7%. As California has all but phased out nuclear energy, they are on the verge of phasing out gas-powered energy as well. Due to an over-reliance on renewable energy sources that could not sustain the stress to their power grid, California has announced multiple rolling blackouts in 2020. The radical environmental activists continue to push for more and more renewable resources that can not yet sustain the demand Californians have for power. With regard to the climate crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom said that “California is America fast-forward.” I hope we are not. The unreliability of their power supply, the high cost of energy, and highly regulated industry has all but destroyed their economic growth. California has been a test case for the Green New Deal, and it has failed that test emphatically.

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We all know that Joe Biden supports the Green New Deal. He denies it publicly when questioned about energy reforms he supports, but his own website calls it a “crucial framework.” We know Kamala Harris supports the Green New Deal because she was an original co-sponsor of the bill. Harris is so adamant about getting the Green New Deal passed that she stated during a 2019 town hall that she would support abolishing the legislative filibuster to get the deal done. At last week’s presidential debate, Joe Biden said that he wanted to “transition from the oil industry.” Joe Biden’s team has spent a lot of time performing damage control on that comment, stating that the oil industry would remain by “branching out beyond oil.” Biden and Kamala Harris have been walking back comments on fracking as well. During the debate, Joe Biden denied saying he was going to end fracking and tried to clarify that his position was no new fracking on public land. This is patently false. Biden and Harris spent their entire time during the Democratic primary speaking about how both would end fracking in the United States. Biden and Harris have repeatedly stated that they want to ban fracking, with Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez calling fracking “unnecessary.”

So which is it? Do we take them at their word when they play damage control, or do we take them at the word when they were on the campaign trail, and hold them to the language of Green New Deal proponents? A Biden administration simply cannot be trusted to do what is right for Alabamians when it comes to energy and utilities.

My job is to represent the best interests of every single Alabamian. Businesses flock to Alabama because of our affordable and reliable utilities and I want to keep it that way. I want Alabamians to be able to use their hot water when they need to; to be able to use their electricity when they need to; and I want energy-producing companies to have the empowerment to continue serving Alabama while making advances in cleaner and renewable technologies, available at the cheapest rates possible. I am working to ensure that we as Alabamians respect the environment and continue to make advances in clean energy, while utilizing our backbone energy sources, such as clean coal and natural gas, that have proven to be reliable.

The decision is straightforward for me: what is best for Alabama is a federal government that allows Alabama to continue prospering in the manner it has been. I oppose Joe Biden’s radical progressive plans that undermine the sovereignty of the state, kill jobs and end the fossil fuel industry that produces efficient and affordable energy and is ever-expanding the way that it becomes cleaner and better for the environment. Joe Biden’s climate and energy plan will make the people of Alabama’s lives worse, not better.

I hope you all keep these things in mind when you go to the poll on Tuesday. I encourage everyone to vote because it is a privilege and an honor to live in a country that supports free and fair elections, and energy that is reliable and affordable like it has been the past four years under the Trump administration. Let your voices be heard and let’s keep Alabama great.

Jeremy H. Oden serves as Alabama Public Service Commissioner, Place 1. Opinions expressed above do not represent the position of the Public Service Commission or its other commissioners.

3 months ago

Take control of your energy budget during the COVID-19 pandemic

(Alabama Public Service Commission/Contributed, YHN)

Summer is peaking and so are utility bills. Historically, the July-September months are always the most expensive electric bills of the year. You’re most likely using more power in a time when so many are crunching their budget, due to COVID-19. Your utility has likely implemented measures for delayed payments and waivers for late fees, but at the end of the day, the meter keeps accruing usage.

Instead of waiting until the end of the month and being shocked by the total of the bill, I would like to make you aware of some quick tips that will put you in greater control of how you use electricity. These tools will better equip you to use power more efficiently and effectively to remain in line with your budget.

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Because Alabama Power is the largest provider of electricity in the state, I decided to use their online website’s tool as an example, but some of these tips translate to whoever your electric provider may be.

If you are an Alabama Power customer with an online profile and want to manage your bill better, start by visiting here.

If you do not have an online account, the first thing you need to do is sign up for an online profile by clicking here. Have your account number handy (it can be found on the paper copy of your power bill) and you’ll be signed up in under five minutes.

Once you’re signed into your online account you’ll be able to track your “Recent Power Usage” and be able to compare your most recent power bills. That alone will better inform you of your month-to-month usage. But that’s not the best part.

From the Menu” tab, click “Billing and Payments” and then “Usage Alerts.” This will take you to a screen where you can enter your desired monthly usage or daily usage in dollar amounts, and each day you go over that limit, Alabama Power will email you a notification. This tool puts you in greater charge of controlling your monthly bill. If you know the maximum amount in your budget for your power bill each month, take that amount, divide by the days of the month, and you’ll know the exact amount you need to set the alert for. Knowing this will allow you to make necessary changes as needed to how you use your appliances in your home.

The second important tool to take advantage of under “Menu” is “Energy Checkup.” This is a real state-of-the-art tool that everyone should use. “Energy Checkup” offers tips on different kinds of appliances to upgrade to that would potentially save you money, but more than that, it offers an “Energy Use Breakdown” of how you’re using electricity and fuel in your home. As you’ll see from the chart below, everything you use in your home is accounted for.

These tools are all about empowering you to know how you’re using electricity in your home and will give you opportunities to manage your electric bill.

If you are not an Alabama Power customer, it is possible your power provider has online tools and alerts that will be of a similar benefit. If you cannot locate these services via your online account, call your local provider and ask them what is available for you to take advantage of. And if by some chance your provider isn’t offering these resources, I encourage you to petition them to improve access to these tools.

Lastly, utilities have been working with us during the pandemic to waive disconnections and late fees, but many of those moratoriums are coming to an end. If you need further assistance, please reach out directly to your provider to find a solution that works best for you. Also, there are great opportunities via LIHEAP where you can petition for assistance. You can find info about their services here.

I hope that everyone that is reading this has been safe and making the most of your summer during this unique and challenging time. One of my main goals right now, as Public Service Commission (PSC) Place One Commissioner, is to help provide you information to help better position your business and family to navigate this very difficult season. And for all of us dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, my prayers are with you.

The above is the opinion of Jeremy H. Oden, Alabama Public Service Commissioner Place 1. Opinions expressed do not represent the position of the Public Service Commission or its other commissioners.