Historic Energy Plan Positions Georgia as Clean Energy Leader in Southeast
Today, in a decision applauded by political groups across the spectrum, the Georgia Public Service Commission, (PSC), voted to approve Georgia Power’s proposal to retire 20% of its coal plants and added a new program to bring 525 megawatts, (MW), of solar power developments to Georgia by 2016.
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Clean Energy Leader in the Southeast
Retires One-Fifth of Georgia Power’s Coal Plants, Creates New Solar Program
July 11, 2013 (ATLANTA) – Today, in a decision applauded by political groups across the spectrum, the Georgia Public Service Commission, (PSC), voted to approve Georgia Power’s proposal to retire 20% of its coal plants and added a new program to bring 525 megawatts, (MW), of solar power developments to Georgia by 2016.
Groups on both sides of the political divide came together this morning to rally in support of solar. Only three turned out for the anti-solar rally hosted by Americans for Prosperity. See pictures here.
The Sierra Club and GreenLaw commend the Commission for its initiative, which will help stabilize customer electricity rates while creating jobs and accelerating solar development in Georgia of the next several years.
The plan calls for 525 MW of new solar developments, to be developed in 2015 and 2016, extending and expanding last year’s Advanced Solar Initiative, which will bring 210 MW of solar power to Georgia by 2015. Georgia is fifth in the nation for solar energy potential, yet is currently ranked 38th for the total number of solar power projects installed.
“Before the Commission proposed this new solar development, Georgia Power's long-term energy plan had no program to add clean energy,” said Ashten Bailey with GreenLaw. “With this new initiative, we’re no longer at the back of the pack and can truly compete to be a clean energy leader in the Southeast.”
“Solar is the best bet against rising electric rates -- the fuel will always be free and you’ll never have to spend millions on environmental controls,” said Colleen Kiernan, director of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Georgia Power just filed for yet another rate increase to pay for obsolete, unnecessary coal plants, while Georgia’s Public Service Commission is providing true leadership and protecting consumers.”
Georgia Power currently has more generating capacity than is needed now or for the foreseeable future. As a result the Sierra Club, represented by GreenLaw, argued against new spending on coal units that are not needed to meet customer demand and will need new pollution control retrofits in order to meet health standards.
Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald proposed the new solar developments as an amendment to Georgia Power’s proposed 2013 energy plan, which lays out how the utility will generate and purchase power for its customers for the next twenty years.
GreenLaw is a non-profit law firm serving environmental and community organizations that have been adversely impacted by pollution. Since 1992, GreenLaw has achieved these goals by providing free, high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.greenlaw.org and follow @greenlaw_GA on Twitter.