Georgia Power’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan has been approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission. The move is expected to propel the state among the top regions within the Southeast for energy storage. The IRP includes 80 megawatts of energy storage and 72 percent more renewable generation by 2024, all supported by batteries.
The IRP will also add 2,260 megawatts of new renewable generation—namely solar, wind and biomass—to the company’s energy mix. The Georgia Solar Energy Association claims that 2 gigawatts will be utility-scale solar and 210 megawatts will be rooftop solar.
The company will move forward with five hydroelectric projects at the Terrora, Tugalo, Bartletts Ferry, Nacoochee and Oliver generating facilities. Georgia Power will continue investing capital into ensuring the reliability of its existing systems and into regulatory compliance, with the IRP also including comprehensive plans to safeguard water quality while closing all 29 ash ponds.
Part of the IRP targets the retirement of five coal-fired units—four at Pant Hammond near Rome, Ga., and one at Plant McIntosh near Rincon, Ga.—reducing the company’s coal-fired generation capacity to roughly half of its 2005 level. Moreover, Georgia Power will not be renewing its operating licenses for the Estatoah, Langdale and Riverview hydro dams.
The plan also includes energy efficiency targets 15 percent higher than those approved in previous IRPs while adding new energy-saving initiatives for residential and commercial customers. Further, through an income-qualified initiative, the program will provide greater financial assistance to households which are historically underrepresented in energy efficiency programs.
The Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency pilot program is designed to help up to 500 eligible residents save an estimated 20 percent of their household electric energy. Georgia Power will cover the upfront costs of installation for specific efficiency upgrades, with the customer repaying the cost through their electric bills via a Commission-approved tariff.