Press Release | June 8, 2023

Georgia Public Service Commission drops plan to burn tires for energy

ATLANTA—Today the Georgia Public Service Commission agreed to drop plans to allow biomass plants in Georgia to burn scrap tires for electricity.

“We appreciate the commission’s open mindedness and willingness to give this issue the additional consideration that it warrants,” said SELC Senior Attorney Jennifer Whitfield. “Today’s decision gives Georgians a chance to share their positions and learn more about why utilities burning tires for energy would be a move backward —not forward.”

Commissioner Jason Shaw, who originally supported the move, said the biomass industry must petition for a formal public hearing for the commission to consider the issue in the future.   

In April, commissioners voted to add shredded tires to a list of materials biomass plants can burn to produce energy. That energy is sold to Georgia Power. The Public Service Commission rolled back that decision after SELC, on behalf of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light and Partnership for Southern Equity, told commissioners Georgia law requires the opportunity for public comment before making this type of change.

“The commission’s vote to reverse this decision is a big win for low-wealth communities and communities of color in Georgia who are already disproportionally burdened by dirty and expensive energy,” said Nathaniel Smith, founder and Chief Equity Officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity. “Communities, especially those who would be most impacted, deserve a seat at the table and to be part of the conversation before decisions like this are made.”

“We already have clean, affordable, and reliable energy options here in Georgia—burning tires is not one of them,” said Codi Norred, Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light. “As an emerging national clean energy leader, Georgia should be creating better access to rooftop solar and energy efficiency programs that would give customers more control over their energy usage and help to lower monthly bills, not expanding the dirty biomass industry.”

Biomass plants primarily burn wood pellets to create energy. This practice is incredibly inefficient, heavily relies on taxpayer funding, and emits more dangerous carbon pollution than burning fossil fuels, including coal.

Burning tires at these facilities would make them even more dangerous for our communities because they release more carbon-dioxide than burning jet fuel, kerosene, or methane gas. Tires can be made of more than 200 raw materials including some that emit pollutants known to cause cancer. 

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Terah Boyd

Communications Manager (AL/GA)

Phone: (404) 521-9900
Email: [email protected]

Partner Contacts

Jay Horton

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light

Phone: (540) 421-6968
Email: [email protected]

James M. Harvey, Jr.

Partnership for Southern Equity

Phone: (678) 557-6561
Email: [email protected]