Georgia Power’s Latest Twenty Year Plan remains Slow on Renewables
The company files an IRP every three years to outline how it can best meet Georgia’s changing energy needs for the next twenty years.
Georgia Power talks about the benefits of renewables, but the latest IRP reveals a continued failure to take fuller advantage on the abundant solar and wind power available to them in Georgia.
A total of 525 megawatts (MW) of any type of renewals will be added to their portfolio mix during the next three year period, according to the IRP. The renewables would not come on line until 2018 and 2019.
It is vague on how much solar will be added, seeing as how the IRP proposes that solar, wind, and biomass compete with each other.
“This new program really is a ramp down in the renewables. They are proposing renewables at zero for 2017 and then in a two year program, 2018 and 2019, an additional 525 megawatts (MW),” Ann Blair, Director for Clean Fuels, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, told Atlanta Progressive News.
In 2018, the Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) returns to the 2015 investment rate of 1.5 percent. At this sluggish rate, Georgia’s prospect for clean energy jobs and lower energy costs are severely reduced.
“They continue to want to hold tight to these old outdated business models and not move forward with clean energy,” Blair said.
Georgia Power apparently prefers big capital intensive projects, like Plant Vogtle nuclear reactors 3 and 4, over moving forward with clean and cheap solar and wind energy.
Another example of Georgia Power clinging to old models is evident as the IRP does not retire or phase-out aging and expensive coal-fired plants like Hamond or McIntosh.
Plant Hammond costs 94 dollars per megawatt hour to operate, due to outdated coal burning technology. The power Hammond does produce is much more expensive than electricity available to Georgia Power from wind and solar, according to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
“I hope the [Georgia Public Service] Commissioners act to protect our health and our pocketbooks by putting these dirty, outdated coal plants, like Plant Hammond, on a schedule for retirement,” Colleen Kiernan, Director of Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter, said in a press release.
The Public Service Commission will vote on Georgia Power’s IRP request this summer 2016.