Activists Confront PSC on Georgia Power’s Energy Plan, Seek All Renewables


20190611_181318With additional reporting by Matthew Charles Cardinale.


(APN) ATLANTA — On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, environmentalists and clean energy advocates from across the State of Georgia joined the Sierra Club in a rally to demand one hundred percent renewable energy in Georgia.


About fifty people gathered on Washington Street across from the Georgia Public Service Commission office in Downtown Atlanta.


The PSC is currently considering Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for 2019, which is Georgia Power’s long-range plan and forecast for Georgia’s electric power needs and how it will serve those needs.


The 2019 IRP provides details for 2020 through 2022, and discusses in less detail Georgia Power’s projections for the next twenty years.  


Georgia Power’s projected 2019 summer energy mix is Gas 46 percent, Coal 23 percent, Nuclear ten percent, Renewables eight percent, Hydro five percent, Energy efficiency five percent, and Oil three percent.  


By 2024, according to the PSC, Georgia Power’s projected summer energy capacity mix will change to Gas 35 percent (down from 46), coal 21 percent (down from 23), Nuclear thirteen percent (up from ten), Renewables eighteen percent (up from eight), Hydro five percent (no change), Energy efficiency four percent (down from one), and Oil three percent (no change).


Georgia Power has about 1,500 MW of solar energy and other renewables on the grid.  They are approved for up to 2,400 MW by the end of 2019.


When Georgia Power proposed their 2019 IRP, they sought to add another 1,000 MW to this existing 2,400 that is projected by end of year.


However, Georgia Power has since then entered a stipulation to add another 1,650 MW, rather than adding another 1,000.  If approved, this will bring Georgia Power’s renewable energy total to 4,050 MW (2,400 plus 1,650).


Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (District 4) has said he will be pushing for even more than the 1650 MW in the stipulation.


The final numbers in the IRP will not be known until it is approved July 16.


This information was provided to APN by Tom Krause, Public Information Officer at Georgia PSC.


According to APN’s archives, Georgia Power, while still pitiful in light of our environmental crisis, has come a long way:


In 2012, Georgia Power only had 61.5 MW of renewables, and agreed to add 210 MW as part of its “Advanced Solar Initiative.”  


In 2013, they agreed to add 525 MW as part of the 2013 IRP.


By 2016, Georgia Power only had 866 MW in renewables.  


The 2016 IRP only proposed an additional 525 MW on renewables, but advocates convinced the PSC to raise this to an additional 1,200 MW.


At the rally, four teenagers from Atlanta for the Planet spoke about their activities to combat the climate crisis.   They have organized protests and school walkouts on Fridays to educate students, teachers, parents, and the public about the climate crisis.


“We are currently in a climate crisis, and our country’s leaders are standing idly by as we head further and further down a path of environmental destruction.  We are tired of waiting for action and have taken action into our own hands,” Natasha Dorr-Kapczynski said.


Her sister, Tina Dorr-Kapczynski, promised more frequent and larger climate protests..


Eleeza Mitchem, another student, shared that the group has met with Deborah Flannagan, Executive Director of the Georgia PSC; and also with State Reps. Viola Davis (D-Avondale Estates) and Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), and U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) to talk about the climate crisis.


“It is inspiring to see so many youths around the world standing up for what they believe in – their future,” Bailey Carr, 15, said.


“You young people give me strength, courage, direction, guidance, and hope.  Don’t ever let old folks slow you down…let these young people step up, step out and stand up,” Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Board Chair, Interfaith Power and Light, said.


“Georgia Power wanted to put 960 megawatts of solar and we talked to Georgia PSC and they moved it up to 1,650.  That shows the impact when people come together with a collective mindset for the overall good of the citizens,” Rev. Durley told APN.       


Two Sierra Club lawyers, Zachary Fabish and Stephen Stetson, said the PSC is not where they need to be, but are better than they were three years ago.


Commissioner McDonald dropped by the rally to say hello and assure the group that he is working to get more renewables.


“What you are saying is respected and that is why I came over to talk with you.  I’m not afraid of you, Georgia Power Company, or any of the rest of them,” McDonald said.


(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2019)


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