Students and other individuals gathered at the Georgia Power Co. Headquarters in Atlanta on Friday to call attention to the severe water shortages the state has been experiencing. They cited Georgia Power’s contribution to the issue by its failing to emphasize resource conservation.
The crowd of about 40 members from Georgia Students for Sustainability were dressed as Santa Claus and his many elf helpers in order to present the Atlanta based company with its new title on “Santa’s Drought Naughty List.” Attendees encouraged the company to re-evaluate their proposals for new water-intensive electricity generation plants in the state, and to instead invest heavily into energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“Clean and efficient energy is important to everyone and the state. Georgia power has the power to become leaders by making a change now that will significantly curb the drought, “said Andriah Fast, a freshman GSS organizer from Valdosta State University.
Georgia Power has plans of developing two new nuclear reactors at their plant Vogtle site on the Savannah River. A decrease in their use of coal and nuclear technology for energy production is essential. These students feel the company needs to transition into using renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power. Currently, Georgia Power uses over 3.3 billion gallons of water daily in Georgia, which translates to roughly sixty-eight percent of the states surface water. Up to fifty percent of that water is lost as a direct result to the process of cooling these power plants.
“Investments in efficiency and renewable energy like solar power, can meet and reduce projected energy demand while greatly reducing the utilities outrageous water consumption,” said Trey Gunning, a GSS organizer from Georgia Southern University.
In addition to the strain it puts on our rapidly diminishing water reserves, Georgia Power also operates two of the three most-pollutant causing plants in the nation. Plant Scherer and Plant Bowen, both coal burning power plants, consume hundreds of gallons of water a day, and contribute to the nearly 845 million gallons taken off of the river basins that provide Atlanta with most of its water.
Demonstrators at the event carried signs reading “Georgia Power Wish List: Clean Energy!” “Santa uses Renewable Energy” and sang modified Christmas carols which highlighted the companies excessive water-use and lack of investment in real efficiency initiatives.
For more information and photographs of the event, visit www.climateaction.net/gss