PSC Sets Hearings, Vote on Georgia Power Request for Additional Generating Capacity

Dave Williams

Monday, December 4th, 2023

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State energy regulators will vote in April on Georgia Power’s request for additional electrical generating capacity.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a hearing schedule Tuesday that calls for a final vote April 16 on an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) the Atlanta-based utility submitted late last month.

The PSC voted in July of last year in favor of a three-year IRP outlining the mix of energy sources Georgia Power intends to rely on for power generation during the next two decades.

But rather than wait the usual three years to submit its next IRP, Georgia Power is looking to the commission now to approve additional generating capacity to accommodate what the company called “extraordinary” economic growth.

The utility is asking for about 6,600 megawatts of electricity. A megawatt is enough electricity to power about 750 homes.

Specifically, the IRP update calls for:

  • construction of new solar resources to be co-located with battery energy storage systems.

  • expansion of Georgia Power’s battery energy storage capacity.

  • construction of three new gas combustion turbines at Plant Yates near Newnan.

  • certification of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Mississippi Power, like Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co.

  • certification of a PPA with Florida-based Santa Rosa Energy Center LLC for power from an existing natural gas-fired power plant.

  • the addition of new and expanded distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar, and demand response programs, in which customers voluntarily agree to reduce energy use during periods of peak demand.

  • Potential acquisition of an additional ownership interest in an “existing generation asset” within the Southern Co. footprint.

Environmental advocates who oppose the updated IRP are focusing on the proposed construction of new gas combustion turbines at Plant Yates. A lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center criticized the gas turbine project last month as “walking back the incremental steps” Georgia Power has taken to transition to clean energy.

Under the schedule the PSC adopted Tuesday, commissioners will hold hearings on the proposed IRP update Jan. 16-17, Feb. 29-March 1, and potentially on March 27-28. The commission’s Energy Committee will hear from all interested parties in the case April 11, ahead of the final vote April 16.