Powering Ga

Google Images

The Georgia Public Service Commission has approved the latest three-year plan for Georgia Power's energy mix. The Integrated Resource Plan, or IRP, was discussed Tuesday morning.

The utility giant will add 2,210 megawatts of renewable power procurement, the largest increase in Georgia's history. Most of that amount will be in large-scale solar power. By the end of the year, the state could have about 2,400 megawatts of renewable energy, so the newly-stipulated increase would nearly double its renewable energy capacity by the end of the three-year IRP.

Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna, Ga is a natural gas plant capable of producing in excess of 2,500 MWs, enough energy to power approximately 625,000 homes.
Georgia Power

On this edition of Political Rewind, the Public Service Commission is preparing to vote on a power plan that will determine how the state generates power and how much they will produce in the years ahead. A move away from coal is a mainstay of the plan.


Ross Terrell / GPB

Barbara C. lives in a modest, one-story, three-bedroom home in Washington, Georgia. She’s 73 years old and has lived there since 1977 when she had the house built.

It’s sits on a plot of land across from a cemetery, separated by a tree covered chain link fence. The house is decorated with older, worn furniture. And inside those walls, she’s raised her two kids and sometimes her four grandkids.  

Barbara is retired and on a fixed income, but she has a pretty big problem. 

“Sometimes my utility bill be half of my income coming in on the 30th,” she said sifting through months of utility bills, pondering why they’re so high. But she simply doesn’t know.

Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

It might be hard to live within them, but most people have budgets. And, sometimes budgeting means tough spending choices like deciding between buying medicine or food.

For GPB’s energy seriesreporter Ross Terrell got a close look at just how hard it can be for people on tight budgets to pay their utility bills. He met a woman named Barbara C., who talked about working at a factory for 35 years and, upon retiring, found herself struggling to keep her lights on.


Josephine Bennett

When the Public Service Commission wraps up its once-every-three-year energy plan later this month, it expects to announce a massive increase in solar farms. But when it comes to residential solar, Georgia gets an “F.” 

Despite that failing grade from the nonprofit Solar Crowd Source, installers here are swamped. That’s because at the end of the year the federal government will begin phasing out a 30% federal tax credit for residential solar.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Rome, Georgia, like that other Rome, is a city of three rivers. In this case, the Oostanaula and Etowah come together downtown to make the Coosa, which flows on into Alabama. That’s where Larry Lassiter walked his dog Fiona on a recent afternoon. 

“It’s just a really nice are up here,” Lassiter said. 

Georgia Power has a plan to close the coal-fired power plants in northwest Georgia not far from Rome. Natural gas will continue to pick up the slack in electrical generation left by coal. That’s helped cut Georgia Power’s carbon emissions by half in a little over a decade. 

So, Larry Lassiter said he understands the need to get natural gas out of the ground, just maybe not the ground he lives on.

 


Rick Bowmer / AP

Transportation — trucks, trains, planes and automobiles — is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Electric vehicles offer a less polluting alternative. That, and reduced fuel costs are strong selling points. Limited battery range is not.

But shorter distances, and those savings, work for many local governments. Last month, Savannah added two new electric cars to its city fleet. Nick Deffley is the director of Savannah's Office of Sustainability. He joined On Second Thought from GPB's studio in Savannah to talk about how the city began its transition to electric vehicles.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

From the whirr of an espresso machine to the hum of the lights to the soca music playing on the speakers, Joe’s East Atlanta Coffee Shop has dozens of examples of Georgia’s energy mix at work.

It’s not like there are signs saying “Coffee maker powered by solar panels!” or “Lamps brought to you by the Chattahoochee River,” but utility providers like Georgia Power, electric membership cooperatives and city-run power companies do bring you electricity using a variety of sources.


Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

In northern Georgia, near the Tennessee line, the city of Dalton made its fame as the carpet capital of the world. These days, a more accurate title would be floor covering capital of the world. It has diversified into hardwood, tile, laminate and other materials.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Georgia Power customers and taxpayers have been helping foot the bill for the expansion project at Plant Vogtle, which is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.


Donna Lowry / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Thursday a boost for Georgia’s workforce. Solar energy will power 400 new jobs in Early County, in the southwest part of the state.

Solar Energy Industries Association

A Nobel Prize-winning energy expert says Georgia is a leader in clean energy production.

 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

After a number of meetings and several deadline delays, the construction of the controversial Plant Vogtle will continue.  Oglethorpe Power voted yes on Wednesday to keep building the nuclear plant. A 90 percent agreement between the project's co-owners was needed to continue construction of the plant. The vote was triggered after projected costs to complete Vogtle skyrocketed by $2.3 billion.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

On this edition of Political Rewind, after running three years behind and several billion dollars over budget, partners in Georgia Powers Plant Vogtle Nuclear Plant vote to continue funding the expansion project. Critics have fought against Vogtle's expansion, citing cost and safety concerns. We discuss whether or not the future of the project is in danger. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Two key players in the construction of Plant Vogtle have decided to continue on with the project. 

Georgia Power and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia have each agreed to move forward in  building the nuclear power facility, but Oglethorpe Power, which has a 30 percent stake in the project, only offered a conditional yes.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

A vote that could determine the fate of Plant Vogtle must come by Monday.


Georgia Power

Georgia Power customers will receive another $25 credit on their July power bill, the utility said in a news release.

This is the second of three credits planned under the Vogtle nuclear plant construction.

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved a total of $188 million in credits as part of its order to continue construction of Vogtle 3 and 4 at the Augusta plant. Units 1 and 2 have been in operation since 1987 and 1989.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

On this edition of Political Rewind, Georgians will continue to pay for an expansion of the Plant Vogtle nuclear power facility, thanks to a ruling by the Public Service Commission. Our panel will weigh in on how much we’ll pay and look at why the decision has sparked controversy. Plus, state legislators are considering a new tax on phones, television subscriptions and streaming services like Netflix. We’ll discuss the reasons. And, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

Wikimedia Commons

Georgia consumers will have to pay more for power, starting in 2021, now that state regulators have voted to let construction continue on two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

At a hearing Thursday, the Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimously in favor of continuing construction at Plant Vogtle.

This is despite the project being billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

Georgia Power’s expansion of nuclear power at Plant Vogtle is still alive following a unanimous vote by the state’s Public Service Commission.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

On this edition of "Political Rewind," the Public Service Commission is about to make a momentous decision that will hit Georgia Power customers in the pocketbook and influence the future of nuclear power across the country. Will the PSC uphold Georgia Power’s plan to continue construction of the troubled Plant Vogtle? Will the commission approve a power company proposal to increase the surcharge customers are already paying for building the nuclear plant? Plus, we’ll look at the fallout from the blackout at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

November 2017
Georgia Power

A new report by Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions Education Fund says climate change poses new threats to the security of Plant Vogtle, the Savannah River Site and nuclear facilities around the Southeast.

Georgia WAND Executive Director Becky Rafter joined Rickey Bevington in the studio to discuss the group’s new findings.

Stephen B. Morton / The Associated Press

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service issued a stern warning to states: address climate change or risk a credit downgrade. That report says Georgia is one of a handful of coastal states facing the highest risk from climate change.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

Wikimedia Commons

Last month, the Atlanta City Council approved an ambitious goal: to rely solely on renewable energy by 2035. Another city that’s taken the lead with renewables is Las Vegas. The city recently met its goal for all city services to completely rely on renewable energy like wind and solar.