Georgia Power’s Latest Twenty Year Plan remains Slow on Renewables
(APN) ATLANTA — Georgia Power’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), released on Friday, January 29, 2016, continues to keep renewables on a slow track.
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“They continue to want to hold tight to these old outdated business models and not move forward with clean energy,” Blair said.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Plant Hammond costs 94 dollars per megawatt hour to operate, due to outdated coal burning technology.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hope the [Georgia Public Service] Commissioners act to protect our health and our pocketbooks by putting these dirty, outdated coal plants, like Plant Hammond, on a schedule for retirement,” Colleen Kiernan, Director of Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter, said in a press release.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.
Solar, and wind are great sources of energy. They are often not the lowest cost, and that is what drives this plan…
You mentioned Plant Hammond is expensive to operate. Lets look at solar. It’s got great fuel cost, zero. Sunshine is free, and you hear people talk about “Free Energy”. I always think of “free Alaskan Salmon” when I hear that – you can catch them for free – all you have to do is fly to Alaska, rent a boat, catch your free fish, have someone freeze them, fly yourself back and next day ship your fish home.
You have to catch that solar, and the equipment to do so is not free. Solar then has a cost, admittedly one that is declining, but regardless – a cost that is substantial. Still though, people argue that at this point solar is just a bit more than other forms of energy.
The thing they forget is that it quits working at night, and it does’t work well early in the morning or in the evening, or in the rain, or on days that are cloudy. It is a real bear to deal with on a windy day when clouds are intermittently covering and uncovering it. Unless you don’t care about your lights and TV going off at night, or your AC burning up because of low and fluctuating voltage, something must be done…
More plant must be built with this solar; backup plant that will work at night, in the rain, on a moment’s notice when a cloud appears. Something like a natural gas fired combustion turbine. So what happens when we add the cost of that second plant to the cost of the solar plant? The answer is simple, it costs more than simply building the natural gas plant.
You might want to look into what has happened to energy prices in Germany. In fact, it would make a good story for your publication. That story would educate your readers as to what can happen if people simply got enthused about renewables and force their power companies to build them regardless of the results. Seriously, you should look into it. Somewhere in that story, if you are honest, I bet you use a sentence like: “Thank God, Georgia Power is holding on to their proven, low cost business model, rather than rushing into renewables and expensive clean energy.”
Brad’s logic is good, even if his facts are not quite up-to-date. (See Carbon-Free and Nuclear- Free Future.) For him to think keeping costs down drives Georgia Power is awfully naïve however. Georgia Power is building two nuclear reactors it doesn’t need, and doing so rather badly, given that it is $3 billion over budget and 3 years behind schedule and still only 25% complete. Why? Well, check out the Georgia Power profit data posted on http://www.nonukesyall.org to see how their profits have swollen in the Vogtle construction years from collecting the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery tariif for Construction Work in Progress (CWIP). Give Georgia Power obscene profits like that on renewables and watch them begin to wor$hip the sun and wind then!
Sign the petition to stop the Nuclear Tax here stopcwip.com
Sign the petition to stop the Nuclear Tax here http://www.stopcwip.com
Mr. Hobbs is missing a lot. Making electricity with the sun is perfect for the summer months when the demand for a/c is great. Making hot water with the sun is perfect too. I worked for a co. and I made 2,000 solar control boards ( one for each house ) for the U.S. Army’s housing project at Camp LeJeune N. C. The hot water made during the day is stored in a regular hot water heater that already has an electric element in it. Re; the expense of natural gas to augment the sun…peanuts. The utility has a colossal pink elephant that will be a burden to the Ga. rate payers for a very long time.
I lived in Ga. for 21 years. I worked outside the whole time. I built a passive solar house and used wood as backup. The longest time of the clouds being in front of the sun was 14 straight days. We used the wood stove everyday then. So I am fully aware of the conditions in Ga. The months of Jan’y to the end of March are the months of the most cloud interference. The rest of the year…sun,sun,sun.
Seeing the world in a geologic time frame…The decades that Ga. will be hindered from atomic energy might seem long to us now. Because of the coming decades of the high electric rates. Once we see that atomic energy is the wrong choice for so many reasons, we will then be freed to use renewable energy for the rest of time.
It is comforting to know that we are already solar powered. This is because we eat the food that the sun and rain grows for us.
As for Germany: they are doing the right thing in closing their reactors down. They have a colossal nuclear waste problem. As do we too. They are further into that process than we are.
Nuclear waste has the inherent ability to destroy any type of container. This means the waste containers will have to be changed every 250 years or so. So there will be more wastes at the end than what we started out with. The last thing we need is to continue making more nuclear wastes. The system is rigged to promote atomic energy in Ga. & S.C.
The cheerleaders believed that the magic to faster reactor builds would be to build the reactor parts in a factory and then send the parts to the sites and “just” assemble them. Well, This hasn’t worked, so the magic remains in the magicians hat. Ga. Power originally said in the 70’s ” We can build 4 reactors for $660 million.” Umm… they finally finished two for $9 BILLION !!! So to rely on the utility to get it right is quite a stretch.
I see quotes from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Sierra Club, but none from Georgia Power or Southern Company. Did you attempt to contact them for this article to get a response?
No. The article is about their plan, which was written by them. That is their comment.