Georgia set to be a leader in energy storage in the Southeast: Georgia Power to own and operate 80 MW of battery energy storage
July 16, 2019
The State of Georgia is positioned to become a leader in battery energy storage in the Southeast with Georgia Power’s planned investment to own and operate 80 megawatts (MW) of battery energy storage. The company’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), unanimously approved today by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), includes energy storage, 72 percent more renewable generation by 2024, and approval of the company’s environmental compliance strategy.
“Working with the Georgia PSC, we are positioning Georgia as a leader in the Southeast in battery energy storage, which is critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy for customers as we increase our renewable generation by 72 percent by 2024,” said Allen Reaves, Georgia Power’s senior vice president and senior production officer. “Through the IRP process, Georgia Power will continue to invest in a diverse energy portfolio including the development of renewable resources in a way that benefits all customers to deliver clean, safe, reliable energy at rates that are well below the national average.”
Under the approved IRP, Georgia Power will:
- Own and operate 80 MW of battery energy storage systems, which will help position Georgia as a leader in storage in the Southeast. Battery energy storage systems are critical to growing and maximizing the value of renewable energy and this will provide the company the opportunity to demonstrate the deployment, integration and operation of storage to gain valuable insight into how to maximize the value of storage for customers.
- Add 2,260 MW of new renewable (solar, wind or biomass) generation to the company’s energy mix, which is already one of the largest voluntary renewable portfolios in the country. With this addition, Georgia Power will continue as a leader in solar energy production and grow its renewable generation by more than 72 percent to 5,390 MW* by 2024 and increase the company’s total renewable capacity to 22 percent of its already diverse portfolio.
- Continue making capital investments to ensure high reliability of the system and help ensure the company meets all state and federal environmental compliance regulations. Georgia Power will move forward with five hydro investment projects including projects at Terrora, Tugalo, Bartletts Ferry, Nacoochee and Oliver generating facilities. The company will also continue with its environmental compliance strategy, which includes comprehensive plans to safely close all 29 ash ponds while protecting water quality every step of the way and complying with all state and federal requirements.
- Retire five coal-fired units, four at Plant Hammond near Rome, Georgia, and one at Plant McIntosh near Rincon, Georgia, reducing the company’s coal-fired generation capacity to approximately half of what it was in 2005. The company also will not renew its operating licenses for the Estatoah, Langdale and Riverview hydro dams.
Energy Efficiency Programs
The plan also includes energy efficiency targets 15 percent more than those approved in previous IRPs, while adding new, innovative energy-saving programs for both residential and commercial customers. New energy efficiency programs for customers approved in this plan, include:
- Income-Qualified program to provide greater financial assistance to income-qualified households that are historically under-represented in energy efficiency program participation. The program will provide the opportunity to help contribute and raise funds for customers in need of home weatherization assistance or home energy efficiency improvements.
- Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency pilot program designed to help up to 500 income-eligible residents save an estimated 20 percent of their household electric energy. This program will allow Georgia Power to cover the upfront costs of installation for eligible energy efficiency upgrades. The customer will repay the cost of the upgrades and installation through their utility electric bills via a Commission-approved tariff. The pilot program will be submitted for PSC approval by April 1, 2020, once PSC staff and the company come to an agreement on program details.
Additionally, the company is expanding assistance to income-qualified customers by increasing the annual funding for the HopeWorks low-income weatherization program by more than 60 percent.
Integrated Resource Plan Process
Georgia Power’s IRP, which outlines how the company will continue to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.6 million customers over the next 20 years, is filed every three years with the Georgia PSC. The 2019 plan was a result of the in-depth IRP process, which includes projections of future fuel costs, load and energy forecasts, an analysis of available generation technologies, the 10-year transmission plan, and an economic assessment of potential and proposed energy efficiency and demand response programs. The company also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of its generating resources given changing environmental regulations and emerging technologies and discussed the growing importance of resilience to the electric system.
* REC Disclaimer: Georgia Power purchases only the null energy output from some renewable generating facilities that have contracted to sell that energy to Georgia Power. Ownership of the associated renewable energy credits (RECs) is specified in each respective power purchase agreement. The party that owns the RECs retains the right to use them.