Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Georgia Power Co. will continue reducing its reliance on coal during the next two decades while stepping up its investments in renewable power and energy efficiency, according to a plan the Atlanta-based utility submitted Thursday.
The 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would keep Georgia Power moving toward the goals the company committed to when it filed its last IRP with the state Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2016. Georgia Power is required to submit a report every three years outlining the mix of energy sources it plans to rely on to meet the needs of its 2.5 million customers for the next 20 years.
Specifically, the company is asking to retire four coal-burning units at Plant Hammond near Rome, Ga., and to retire one coal unit at Plant McIntosh near Rincon, Ga, west of Savannah. Georgia Power also proposes not to renew the operating licenses of two hydropower projects on the Chattahoochee River in West Georgia, which would ultimately lead to the dams’ removal.
While taking those power supply sources out of the mix, the utility is seeking to procure an additional 1,000 megawatts of energy from renewable sources. If approved, the additional renewable power would increase Georgia Power’s renewable portfolio to 18 percent. The IRP also proposes new energy-saving programs for residential and commercial customers aimed at reducing peak demand by about 1,600 megawatts.
The plan would continue to emphasize a mixed array of energy sources, long a mantra with Georgia Power. That includes nuclear power, as the utility remains committed to completing a $27.3 billion nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle despite soaring costs and scheduling delays.
“We have invested in a diverse energy mix of nuclear, natural gas, hydro, renewables, coal and energy efficiency resources in order to maintain high levels of reliability for our customers that have resulted in rates that are 15 percent below the national average,” said Allen Reaves, senior vice president and senior production officer at Georgia Power.