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Georgia Power strikes deal to amend resource plan with more renewables

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Georgia Power will present rebuttal testimony on its integrated resource plan June 11-12.
Source: Georgia Power

Georgia Power Co. has reached an agreement with the Georgia Public Service Commission's public interest advocacy staff to approve a modified version of its 20-year integrated resource plan.

Under a stipulation signed June 6, Georgia Power will procure 1,500 MW of utility-scale renewables resources instead of the 1,000 MW the company originally allotted, with 500 MW dedicated to all retail customers and the rest toward its commercial and industrial customer program. The Southern Co. subsidiary will also issue a request for proposals for up to 150 MW of distributed generation solar resources between 1 kW and 3 MW.

The state's regulatory commissioners can accept the agreement and amended resource plan, ask for more changes or reject the deal. The Georgia PSC still needs to hold hearings for Georgia Power to present rebuttal testimony on its plan for June 11-12, with the commission scheduled to issue a decision at its July 16 meeting.

The increased renewables procurement comes after members of the state regulatory staff and industry observers testified in May that the utility should expand the scale and type of renewable capacity in its plan.

However, Georgia Power will not retire additional coal-fired plants beyond its original plans to retire the 142.5-MW McIntosh plant and all four units at the 840-MW Hammond plant, despite stakeholders pressuring executives to retire Bowen plant's units 1 and 2.

Instead, the utility and the PSC staff agreed to limit capital expenditures for Bowen to $19 million per year through July 31, 2022, if the commissioners accept the deal. Georgia Power will also look into transmission and nonwire solutions that could alleviate system issues that would occur when Georgia Power retires Bowen's units 1 and 2, which represent a combined 1,448 MW of capacity.

While the state PSC also granted Georgia Power permission to build, own and operate up to 80 MW of energy storage demonstration projects, both parties said they do not recommend a microgrid project with Emory University. If that decision changes, the two parties said they would only proceed if the college agrees to pay the difference if costs exceed the benefits to other ratepayers. Georgia Power is currently pursuing a similar microgrid project with Georgia Tech.