Energy Efficiency, Utilities, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 17, 2019

Georgia Power forced to double RE

The Georgia Public Service Commission on July 16 finalized Georgia Power Company’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), increasing the required amount of renewable energy procurement to 2,210 megawatts, more than double the utility’s initial recommendation to add 1,000 megawatts by 2022. This represents the largest increase in renewable energy in Georgia’s history. The additional renewable resources will principally be solar, though it could include wind and other types. The utility was also authorized to own and operate 80 MW of battery storage.

An advisory from the Commission noted the final amount was reached after a unanimous vote by its five members to approve Chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald’s motion for the 2,210-megawatt increase. “I determined Georgia has the ability to add significantly more renewable energy and solar energy using a market-based approach without any upward pressure on the rate payers and no state subsidies,” McDonald said. “Solar, combined with nuclear power when Vogtle 3 and 4 go online, will give Georgians clean, reliable energy for years to come.”

The statement noted that in Georgia Power’s 2013 IRP, the Commission added 525 megawatts of solar energy. Three years later, in the 2016 IRP, another 1,600 megawatts were added. By the end of 2019, Georgia should have a total of 2,400 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy on the grid.

Other modifications of the IRP include:

  • An increase in new distributed generation solar from 150 MW to 210 MW. 160 MW will be competitively bid. 50 MW will be customer-sited DG purchased at avoided cost.
  • 50 MW of new competitively bid biomass generation (typically wood) was added.
  • Georgia Power was directed to develop a pilot project utilizing used lithium-ion batteries for a grid-connected charging system for electric vehicles. The goals of the pilot are to keep fast charging of clean electric vehicles affordable and insulate the grid from spikes in electricity demand. The cost of the pilot shall not exceed $250,000.

Georgia Power was also directed to increase its energy efficiency savings targets for both residential and commercial programs by 15%.

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