Georgia Power seeks approval to build 525 MW of renewable energy 2017-2019

On Friday, Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power filed its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with regulators in the U.S. state of Georgia. As part of the plan, the utility is seeking approval to procure 525 MW of renewable energy through its Renewable Energy Development Initiative.

Under the initiative, Georgia Power would hold auctions open to wind, solar and biomass, for capacity to come online in 2018 and 2019. Both in-state and out-of state resources will be eligible.

Additionally, the utility will close down and in one case sell a number of fossil fuel-fired power plants, including one coal plant and a number of smaller oil-fired units.

The Sierra Club and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) criticized Georgia Power for what they describe as inadequate ambition, noting that under the Renewable Energy Initiative no renewable energy would come online in 2017.

These organizations contrast the initiative with the various stages of Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative, under which the utility plans to procure around 900 MW of solar PV by the end of 2016.

“It’s beyond my comprehension why you wouldn’t expand a successful program, and rather why you would scale it back,” Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Director Colleen Kiernan told pv magazine.

Additionally, SACE and Sierra Club say that Georgia Power has failed to prioritize closing down its oldest and most expensive coal-fired power plants.

With 250 MW of wind contracts that Georgia Power will sign this year, solar and wind will represent 3.9% of the utility’s available generation capacity.

Sierra Club notes that Georgia Power must file another IRP in 2019, which it describes as an additional opportunity.