Georgia Power’s new IRP features less coal, more renewables

Georgia Power on Jan. 29 filed its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), which is something it has to file every three years and covers the next 20 years.

“As we navigate the changing energy and environmental landscape, striking the right balance between reliability and affordability is crucial to protecting our customers,” said John Pemberton, senior vice president and senior production officer for Georgia Power. “We remain committed to best meeting customers’ needs today while maintaining the flexibility to provide a secure energy future for Georgia.”

As part of the filing, Georgia Power is requesting approval of its Renewable Energy Development Initiative, a program that will bring an additional 525 MW of renewable generation to the company’s portfolio and is expected to deliver energy savings for customers. In addition, outlined in the IRP is a comprehensive and detailed analysis that provides the framework for determining and allocating the projected benefits and costs of integrating additional renewable resources in Georgia, while maintaining reliability and affordability.

The 2016 plan also proposes energy efficiency targets similar to those approved in the previous IRP, while adding new, innovative energy-saving programs for both residential and commercial customers. By 2019, these programs are designed to reduce peak demand approximately 1,900 MW, which is 12% of the company’s current load.  

Also, the company is requesting the decertification of certain generation assets, including one coal unit and two small oil-fired combustion turbines at Plant Mitchell near Albany, Georgia, as well as a combustion turbine (CT) at Plant Kraft on the Georgia coast. Georgia Power is also seeking to decertify and sell the company’s ownership in an oil-fired CT located in Intercession City, Florida, to majority owner Duke Energy Florida.

The IRP filing initiates a series of additional filings and public hearings with the PSC. Following this process, the PSC is expected to vote on the company’s IRP request this summer.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.