The utility company Georgia Power has agreed to a new deal with a group of organizations that includes our friends at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and sees the utility commit to build and procure 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity in the 2018–2020 time period, according to recent reports.
The deal, which has been approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission (GSPC), builds on the utility company’s earlier commitment of 525 megawatts (MW) during that time period — more than triples it, actually.
The plan/deal calls for 1,200 MW of new renewables generation capacity through Georgia Power’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI), a further 200 MW that Georgia Power will develop directly, and a further 200 MW through commercial means. Out of the 1,200 MW of REDI project capacity, 150 MW will relate to distributed generation. (Here’s a related story on distributed solar in the utility’s jurisdiction: “Georgia Power’s Rooftop Solar PV Program Is A Bust So Far… Only 5 Customers In 1 Year.”)
While the company is open to utilizing any renewable energy project modalities, the expectation is that most of the new generation capacity will be through solar energy projects.
“It’s very likely going to be all solar,” commented SACE Program Director Anne Blair. Though, Blair also notes that, “theoretically, biomass could even bid in.”
The reason for this? Solar energy has generally been out-competing other forms of renewables in the region when it comes to costs.
The regional commission’s plans also mandate the opening of a new 3 MW community solar energy program. The commission also approved a coal-fired power plant closure, and a capital expenditure limit on 2 others.
The commission apparently also has a thing for nuclear energy as well as renewables, though, as it forces Georgia Power ratepayers to provide $99 million for the investigation and licensing of new nuclear projects in the state.