(Media release from Georgia Power):
Earlier this week, Georgia Power filed its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which sets forth a proactive, innovative and transformational roadmap for how the company will continue to meet the energy needs of customers, local communities and the State of Georgia for future generations.
Filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), the 2022 IRP outlines Georgia Power’s plan to thoughtfully transition its fleet to more economical, cleaner resources; invest in its transmission system to make it smarter and even more reliable and resilient; double its renewable and solar capacity; focus on energy storage solutions; and offer innovative energy efficiency programs for customers.
“At Georgia Power, we know that to continue to meet the changing needs of our customers we must prepare now to build the electric system and energy infrastructure of the future,” said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “We believe this IRP outlines how we will do that and how, working with the Georgia Public Service Commission, we will build upon the solid foundation we already have as the energy landscape continues to evolve. It demonstrates our commitment to making smart investments today, so that our customers can continue to have clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for decades to come.”
The company files an IRP with the Georgia PSC every three years to outline how it will continue delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers over the next 20 years. As part of today’s filing, Georgia Power is proposing a comprehensive strategy to both transform Georgia’s energy sources and help to ensure that the state’s network of transmission lines and grid infrastructure continues to deliver reliable energy to Georgians – both today and in the future.
Transforming Georgia’s Energy Sources, Growing Renewable Energy
As coal-fired generation continues to be less economically viable, the company is proposing to retire and decertify all Georgia Power-controlled coal units, with the exception of Plant Bowen Units 3 & 4, which will continue to operate no later than 2035. The company’s plan includes retirement of a total of 12 generating units, or more than 3,500 megawatts (MW), by 2028 and, if approved, would begin later this year and continue through 2028. To facilitate this fleet transformation, Georgia Power is proposing to certify an additional 2,356 megawatts (MW) of capacity from natural gas power purchase agreements (PPAs), procured through the company’s 2022-2028 Capacity Request for Proposals (RFP) as well as significantly increase its renewable capacity.
The company is also planning to double its renewable generation by adding 6,000 MW by 2035, which includes a request for approval of 2,300 MW* in this IRP. The new capacity would expand the company’s renewable resource portfolio to approximately 11,500 MW by 2035 as well as support the transition to cleaner, more cost-effective energy resources for customers.
Additionally, as the energy resource mix continues to evolve and the presence of intermittent renewable resources grows, the company is:
- Requesting approval to own and operate 1,000 MW of energy storage by 2030, which includes a specific request for approval to own and operate the 265-MW McGrau Ford Battery Facility.
- Proposing to continue to invest in its hydro plants, including Plants Burton, North Highlands and Sinclair, to improve efficiencies in hydro system operations and help to ensure these units continue to provide clean and dispatchable carbon-free energy for another 40 years.
Investments in Reliability, Resilience
Georgia Power is continuously investing in the power grid to make it smarter and more reliable. The 2022 IRP outlines additional investments and plans to continue to enhance the reliability and resilience of the state’s electrical grid system, including a multi-faceted approach developed to address future reliability needs associated with the retirement of coal units. The company is calling for an integrated solution comprised of new generation and transmission assets aimed at meeting the long-term needs of the state.
“Providing customers with reliable service is at the center of our business and as we continue to transition our fleet and grow renewable energy that focus remains true. Looking to Georgia’s future growth and energy needs, we know that new and emerging technologies have the potential to fundamentally alter the way energy is created, transported and ultimately consumed. That’s why a critical component of our fleet and grid transformation plan involves leveraging new technologies,” added Womack.
For the 2022 IRP, the company has identified long-duration storage, hydrogen, tall wind technologies and distributed energy resources as areas of potential investment.
Diverse, Flexible Customer Programs
In addition to investments in its transmission and generation systems and assets, the company also recognizes how important demand-side resources, such as energy efficiency programs and demand response programs, are to Georgia Power’s resource mix. They benefit customers and support system reliability by reducing energy use and managing demand during severe weather events. Consistent with prior IRPs, the 2022 IRP offers a robust portfolio of these programs designed to provide significant value for all customers, including those facing income challenges. New programs proposed in this IRP include:
- Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Customer Program – This program enables participating customers to receive a resiliency service via a company-owned, operated and maintained DER. Participating customers could elect to receive a credit in exchange for the company’s ability to access the DER for the benefit of all customers during a system reliability event. If approved, it would provide system reliability benefits for all customers while supporting commercial and industrial customers with enhanced resiliency needs.
- Income-Qualified Community Solar Pilot – If approved, this program will provide income-qualified customers access to Community Solar generated energy at discounted prices. The discount will be made available by participating corporate sponsors who will receive corresponding Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
Additionally, the company is requesting to continue the Home Energy Efficiency Assistance Program (HEEAP) and its current program in connection with HopeWorks as well as extend the Residential Investment for Saving Energy (RISE) Pilot, which promotes energy efficiency improvements in qualifying existing, income-qualified single-family homes and a limited number of multifamily properties