Georgia Power adopts renewable energy increase advanced by SELC, partners

Georgia Power's 20-year plan includes 1.6 GW of new renewable energy resources, a large portion of which will likely be solar, nearly tripling the amount the utility initially proposed. (© iStock)

Georgia will continue to build on the success of its burgeoning clean energy economy through the state Public Service Commission’s final vote today approving Georgia Power Company’s long-term energy plan. The decision adds new solar to the state’s energy mix and takes important steps to bring achievable energy savings to low-income communities. 

SELC represented Southface Energy Institute (Southface) and Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) in the proceedings on Georgia Power’s 2016 integrated resource plan (IRP), which outlines how the utility will meet customers’ energy needs for the next 20 years. 

Over several months of hearings, the groups advocated for:

  • greater investments in solar,
  • improvements in how Georgia Power valued solar and other renewables when considering billing,
  • fair compensation for rooftop solar customers, and
  • greater energy efficiency measures, including programs to better serve low-income customers.

Georgia Power’s draft plan, filed in January, acknowledged the need to prepare for a future in which there will be limits on carbon emissions from power production. Today’s decision takes important steps in that direction, building on Georgia’s emergence as a national clean energy leader. The decision includes:

  • Approval of up to 1.6 GW of new renewable energy resources, a large portion of which will likely be solar. This nearly triples Georgia Power’s initial proposal, which called for 525 MW, the same amount approved in the last IRP. The renewable resource additions are enough to power about 250,000 homes. 
  • A commitment to direct at least $1.5 million toward energy savings measures in low-income multi-family housing. 
  • A requirement for Georgia Power to develop and present a new program for serving the needs of low-income customers, who are among the most burdened by high energy bills.
  • A requirement for Georgia Power to develop a whole building data access program. This will allow owners of commercial and multi-family buildings to measure and manage their building’s energy performance, which will in turn unleash substantial, market-driven energy savings. 

“We applaud the Commission for taking us further in the direction of a clean energy future for Georgia,” said SELC Senior Attorney Kurt Ebersbach. “Today's decision continues positive momentum that has already been beneficial to our economy and our air while lowering carbon emissions.”

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