Regulators and Utility Customers Agree: Wind Energy Right Choice for Georgia

Georgia Power encouraged to buy more affordable wind energy

Today, dozens of Sierra Club members, clean energy supporters and Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) staff testified in favor of bringing new clean, affordable wind energy to Georgia consumers. Georgia Power, the state’s largest electricity provider, is asking the Public Service Commission to approve two contracts to import 250 megawatts (MW) of wind power, enough to power more than 60,000 Georgia homes, from wind farms in Oklahoma. In written testimony, Public Service Commission staff indicated that Georgia Power customers could save even more money on electricity bills if the company signed additional contracts for affordable wind power.

“These wind proposals are the right choice for Georgians. Wind power is one of the most affordable energy resources on the market today,” said Seth Gunning, Beyond Coal organizer with the Sierra Club. “Georgia Power should be taking full advantage of wind power’s ability to keep our electricity rates as low as possible, to help Georgia businesses save money and create jobs. The Sierra Club’s members and supporters urge the Commission to approve these contracts to help Georgia’s environment, and our pocketbooks.”

According to Georgia Power analysis provided to the Commission in March, this wind power is cheaper than other energy, and will help drive down the cost of electricity for customers. In fact, states with the highest percentage of wind power have seen the least amount of electricity price increases compared to all other states. The two contracts under consideration will import power from Blue Canyon Wind Farm, the nation’s largest wind farm near Lawton, Oklahoma.

“Today, Georgia Power and the Public Service Commission have a big opportunity to safeguard against rising electricity costs for Georgia consumers,” said Ashten Bailey, staff attorney at GreenLaw. “Wind energy keeps rates stable and is a smart, low-risk addition to Georgia’s energy mix. Wind protects our water resources and supports clean air too.  Georgia Power should be purchasing as much of this affordable clean electricity as it can use.”

GreenLaw, on behalf of the Sierra Club, intervened in the proceeding where Georgia Power has asked the Public Service Commission for approval of these contracts. A decision is expected on May 20, 2014.

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GreenLaw is GreenLaw is a Georgia-based nonprofit 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.

The Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 2.4 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet. Read more at http://www.sierraclub.org