Georgia’s Most Important Natural Resources
Georgia, the Peach State, is one of the most beautiful and scenic states in America. Beyond its coastal beaches, it’s home to swaths of immense forests, thousands of miles of sparkling streams and rivers, and countless acres of lakes that provide both drinking water and entertainment in the form of boating, watersports, and fishing. It’s no surprise, then, that Georgia produces a wealth of natural resources, from raw industrial materials to a range of food products. We take a look at some of the most abundant Georgia natural resources and how solar energy can help protect them for future generations.
Georgia natural resources – five famous exports
Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources lists over 20 natural materials produced in the state. Each of these categories can be drilled down further, of course, but even in the broad categories given, Georgia is among the most resource-rich states in America.
One of the most productive parts of the state is the pine forests, which produce not only lumber and paper, but the byproducts of the forestry industry, which we’ll explore in more detail below. Eight million acres of farmland combined with warm summers and varying topography — from mountains to marshes — means diverse crops grow here plus plants used for fibers for fabrics. Picking out each individual resource would fill a book — so we’ve picked out five of the most popular to focus on.
More than 60% of Georgia is forest, much of it pine. This makes Georgia one of the nation’s leading forestry states. Twenty-two million acres of this is commercial forestry land, worth over $35 billion. Georgia is a leading producer of lumber for a variety of uses, but pine forests contribute more than just wood. These immense forests produce more than half the turpentine in the world, plus pine resin and other byproducts.
The forests have another enormous benefit to the state. They’re a huge carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and improving air quality for everyone. That’s why ethical and careful forest management is vital to maintaining ecological balance. Shrinking acreage of forests would be a huge blow to the Georgia economy.
Plenty of the trees in Georgia end up as wood pulp and eventually paper. Some of the largest paper manufacturers in the United States are based in Georgia, and Georgia exports 21% of all wood pulp produced in America. There are at least 26 paper mills in Georgia, which benefit the state economy by around $20 billion each year. Paper mills have incredibly strict sustainability standards to follow, as well as restrictions around what toxic materials can be used in the treatment and processing of paper.
Marble is a popular material for buildings, countertops, and statues. Pickens County in Georgia has a marble vein at least five miles long and half a mile wide. Georgia marble is some of the finest in the country, and was even used for the Lincoln Memorial.
Georgia’s lakes and fantastic coastline produce some incredible seafood. In addition to fish like red snapper, tuna, and mahi-mahi, Georgia harvests huge volumes of shrimp. The estuaries and marshes around the coast are the ideal habitats for oysters, but the ecosystem here is very fragile and sustainability is a big focus in state oyster production. The water has to be clean, the season is very limited, and oyster harvesting must meet stringent standards set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.
Kaolin clay, or China clay, is a huge Georgia export. No other state produces as much, and the state is recognized globally as a leader in the mining and processing of kaolin. Georgia produces around eight million metric tons of kaolin clay a year, worth over $1 billion. Kaolin has some surprising uses. As well as being used in ceramics like porcelain, it’s an ingredient in some cosmetics and medicines, paints, and agricultural sprays, plus it’s used in the treatment of wastewater.
How renewable energy protects Georgia’s natural resources
It’s clear that plenty of Georgia’s natural resources come from the land and water, so protecting those resources is critical. The future of the state’s economy relies on a fine ecological balance. That means ensuring the air and water are kept clean and unpolluted and forests are managed so that they don’t start to shrink.
Switching to renewable energy like solar power is an important step. Solar power protects resources like forests and lakes because:
- Solar power plants and cells are highly regulated to ensure they don’t pollute, even during the manufacturing process.
- Solar power replaces fossil fuels.
- Solar plants avoid invasive methods of gaining fuel which are damaging to both wildlife and humans.
- Solar energy creates no air pollution, protecting communities.
- Solar energy is also kinder to the local water sources, making drinking water safer and protecting fish and other aquatic life — a major export of Georgia.
Solar power – the benefits to Georgia businesses
A major benefit of switching to solar power for businesses in Georgia is that it’s, by far, less expensive than fossil fuels. Investing in a solar power system could lead to two decades plus of free energy, even after the initial investment is taken into account. With energy bills soaring across America, investing wisely in energy independence could be the deciding factor when it comes to business expansion and growth.
The added benefit of installing your own on-site mini power plant is that it empowers you to break away from utility providers that charge exorbitant fees for simply allowing you to connect to their service. Solar power can provide you with freedom from utility companies, and it empowers you to manage your own energy production in a way that works for you and your business. As you expand or acquire more facilities, there’s always the option to add further solar power solutions for complete grid independence.
Solar power for manufacturers in Georgia
Georgia is one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to large manufacturers. Top brands have their homes here, from famous soda manufacturers to well-known names in the heavy goods industry. Coastal Solar knows that manufacturers have stringent regulations to follow regarding their carbon footprint and environmental impact. Our industry-leading solution makes solar power for large industrial settings possible, providing your plant with a smart micro grid that creates and stores power efficiently, keeping you in control.
Switching to solar for manufacturing means more than just reducing your bills and hitting your sustainability targets. It shows your customers that you’re committed to a greener future. You become a steward for the environment, known as a brand that cares about the planet, the natural resources of your state, and your local communities.
Although Georgia has relatively low energy per capita usage, as a state, it ranks in the top ten highest energy consumers in the nation. That shows the huge impact business and industrial energy use has in the state, and the importance of ensuring that energy usage doesn’t impact the environment negatively. However, homeowners can also make a difference by switching to solar. Every home that switches to solar energy not only saves money on the energy bill but makes a long-term commitment to being kinder to the environment. That’s why Coastal Solar offers solar solutions both large and small, and an honest assessment about whether solar power is the right choice for you, your business, or your home.
Talk to an energy expert at Coastal Solar to see how your operation can save at least 60% on energy costs while meeting sustainable energy mandates.