Georgia Power seeking more energy generating capacity


ATLANTA – Georgia Power usually asks state energy regulators every three years to approve the utility’s latest plan outlining the mix of energy sources it intends to rely on for power generation during the next two decades.

But what the Atlanta-based utility describes as Georgia’s “extraordinary” economic growth is prompting Georgia Power to seek additional generating capacity less than a year and a half after the state Public Service Commission approved its last Integrated Resource Plan.

The company submitted a plan update to the commission Friday proposing additional capacity to handle current projections reflecting energy growth of about 6,600 megawatts of electricity, up from about 400 megawatts Georgia Power forecasted in January of last year. A megawatt is enough electricity to power about 750 homes.

The update calls for expanding the use of renewable energy and battery storage, both sources of power generation long supported by environmental advocates. But it also proposes the construction of new gas turbines at Georgia Power’s Plant Yates in Coweta County, to the dismay of environmentalist critics.

“Georgia has continued to experience rapid economic growth since the filing of our IRP in early 2022,” said Kim Greene, Georgia Power’s chairman, president, and CEO. “Many businesses coming to the state are bringing large electrical demands at both a record scale and velocity.

“This IRP update outlines how Georgia Power can best continue supporting that historic growth while continuing to provide our customers with the clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy they expect and deserve.”

Specifically, the plan update includes:

  • 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 with Mississippi Power, like Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co.
  • certification of a power purchase agreement 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. Negotiations are currently ongoing, according to Friday’s filing.

In a news release issued Friday, Georgia Power officials said the plan update does not change the utility’s commitment to renewable energy. The utility plans to add 10,000 megawatts of new renewable resources by 2035 under the new plan, up from the 6,000 megawatts projected in the 2022 plan.

In keeping with last year’s plan, Georgia Power is pursuing requests for proposals for both distributed generation renewable power projects and larger utility-scale projects.

The company also is working to develop, own, and operate a 265-megawatt battery storage project and plans to seek final approval from the commission by the end of next year. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2026.