July 17, 2019 Read More →

State regulators tell Georgia Power to add 2,210MW of new solar by 2024

Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Georgia will rely more on the sun to generate electricity as it retreats from its once overwhelming reliance on coal.

The state Public Service Commission’s five members — all Republicans — unanimously directed Georgia Power to make its biggest increase ever in renewables, nearly doubling the solar capacity of the state’s largest utility. The addition — 2,210 megawatts of new capacity from solar panels by 2024 — is enough to power more than 200,000 homes of the company’s 2.6 million customers.

“It’s one of the cleanest and cheapest generation (sources) we can have,” PSC chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald said.

He successfully pushed to more than double the amount of solar Georgia Power initially proposed as part of an update to its long-range energy plan. Most of the new solar generation is expected to come from large-scale commercial arrays rather than homeowners’ rooftops.

But coal plants, once the dominant power source in Georgia and favored by President Donald Trump, are a shrinking part of the state’s energy mix as they become less economically viable. The PSC agreed with Georgia Power’s recommendation to close five coal-burning units, one at Plant McIntosh near Savannah and four more at Plant Hammond near Rome. The company started winding down operations this year.

Georgia Power particularly heralded the PSC’s approval of 80 megawatts of battery energy storage, which could help store solar power. The project “is critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy for customers as we increase our renewable generation,” Allen Reaves, the Atlanta-based company’s senior vice president, said in a press release.

More: Georgia commissioners, all Republicans, increase solar power, cut coal

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