Georgia Power plans to retire coal units, increase renewables by 2035

Published on February 02, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Georgia Power proposed closing all its coal-fired units and doubling its renewable and solar capacity by 2035, according to the company’s 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed with state regulators this week.

The 2022 IRP — filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) – lays out Georgia Power’s plan to 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. The IRP is filed every three years.

“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,” Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, said. “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.”

Among the plans, 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. Overall, the company will retire a total of 12 generating units, or more than 3,500 megawatts (MW), by 2028.

Further, the company is 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.

In addition, Georgia Power 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. Also, it will continue to invest in its hydro plants, including Plants Burton, North Highlands, and Sinclair, and the power grid to make it smarter and more reliable.

“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,” Womack said.

Additionally, the IRP has identified long-duration storage, hydrogen, tall wind technologies, and distributed energy resources as areas of potential investment.

Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company.