Across the state of Georgia, businesses and municipalities are looking beyond electricity generated from coal and imported oil to other more energy efficient technologies. During the World Energy Engineering conference in Atlanta last week, the state’s energy portfolio was highlighted. According to the Florida Times-Union, here’s a summary of Georgia’s energy portfolio:
The Georgia legislature permitted Georgia Power to levy financing charges on its customers to help finance Plant Vogtle – the nation’s first two commercial nuclear reactors in 30 years. Plant Vogtle is owned jointly by Georgia Power, the electric-membership cooperatives and several dozen cities.
A significant drop in natural gas prices prompted Georgia Power to switch generating plants from coal to gas, most recently at its Plant McDonough in Atlanta. Also, Atlanta Gas Light Co. built a network of fueling stations for vehicles that run on domestic natural gas.
Firms in South Georgia have invested $1 billion into industrial infrastructure to make pellets from pine trees for export to Europe, where utilities burn them to generate electricity to comply with European Union emissions mandates.
Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment last year to allow state agencies to enter into multi-year contracts. This has paved the way for companies to install energy-saving equipment in state buildings at no upfront costs and take their payment from the savings in the years to come. Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority, has voted to spend up to $200 million in energy retrofit financing via the Clean Energy Atlanta program.
Wind and Solar – Not So Much
Georgia Power has investigated the feasibility of erecting wind turbines off Tybee Island but is concerned about hurricanes and the effect they might have with offshore wind. Other locations for wind farms offer only limited potential in Georgia. In terms of solar, Georgia Power does not want to allow competitors to market solar power to retail customers. It is amenable to a policy in which independent solar producers sell limited amounts of wholesale electricity to Georgia Power.