Georgia Power outlines 20-year plan to meet electricity needs

Jan 31, 2013, 15:57 ET from Georgia Power

ATLANTA, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power outlined its plans to continue to meet the state's electricity needs reliably and affordably in its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), filed today with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC).

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Georgia Power is required to file an IRP every three years, and may also file updates when necessary.  The filing outlines the company's 20-year resource plan, and details how it will meet future customer energy needs in an economical and reliable manner.

Included in the IRP are projections of future fuel costs; load and energy forecasts; an analysis of currently available generation technologies; the 10-year transmission plan; and an economic assessment of potential and proposed energy efficiency and demand response, also known as demand-side management (DSM) programs.

"We are committed to meeting the energy demands of our customers in the most reliable and affordable way possible," said John Pemberton, Georgia Power senior vice president of Generation and senior production officer. "The IRP process ensures we keep that commitment as we undergo a historic transition to our generating fleet, which includes natural gas, 21st-century coal, new nuclear, renewables and energy efficiency."

As part of today's filing, Georgia Power is requesting to decertify and retire 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units totaling 2,061 megawatts (MW): Units 3 and 4 at Plant Branch in Putnam County; units 1-5 at Plant Yates in Coweta County; units 1 and 2 at Plant McManus in Glynn County; and units 1-4 at Plant Kraft in Chatham County; and Boulevard units 2 and 3, also in Chatham County. In addition, the company is requesting to decertify and sell Plant Bowen Unit 6, which has a rating of 32 MW, bringing the total of retired capacity to 2,093 MW.

Units 3-4 at Branch, units 1-5 at Yates and units 1-3 at Kraft are coal-fired generating units. Kraft Unit 4 is oil-/natural gas-fired, and McManus units 1-2 are oil-fired. Bowen Unit 6 is an oil-fired combustion turbine that is only permitted to operate during non-summer months due to ozone non-attainment requirements.

The company expects to ask for decertification of the units, other than Kraft units 1-4, Bowen Unit 6 and Boulevard units 2 and 3 by the April 16, 2015 effective date of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule. The company expects to seek a one-year extension of the MATS compliance date for Plant Kraft, and retire those units by April 16, 2016. The company is asking the PSC to grant the decertification of Bowen Unit 6 by April 16, 2013, to facilitate the sale of the unit, and is seeking decertification of Boulevard units 2 and 3 effective as of the date of the final order in the IRP.

Also, Georgia Power will request converting units 6 and 7 at Plant Yates from coal to natural gas, and will switch from burning Central Appalachian coal to burning Powder River Basin coal at Plant McIntosh Unit 1, pending a successful test burn and further study. As part of the company's MATS compliance strategy, it will install two baghouses at Plant Bowen units 3 and 4, and will use an activated carbon and hydrated lime injection system on units 1-4 at Bowen, and all units at Plant Hammond and Plant Wansley.

The installation of these controls is part of Georgia Power's more-than-$5 billion environmental construction program. The company is installing scrubbers, Selective Catalytic Reduction units, baghouses and other controls at its coal-burning plants to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and mercury.

As part of the IRP, the company continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to identify all cost-effective renewable resources to benefit customers, with 1,088 MW of hydro generation, 63 MW of solar generation and 142 MW of biomass generation in service or under contract today. By the end of 2016, the company expects to have more than 1,500 MW of renewable generation available to serve customers.

With the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI), the company continues to obtain an increasing amount of solar resources as declining technology prices have made them more cost competitive. GPASI builds on the solar resources already added to the portfolio by the company through the Large Scale Solar program and the Green Energy program.

After all resources are added through the GPASI, the company expects to have 270 MW of solar capacity under contract in Georgia. That will be the largest solar portfolio for any investor-owned utility that operates in a state without a renewable portfolio standard. The company also continues to engage in research and development efforts to gain more insight into the potential for further utilization of solar resources in the state of Georgia.  

The company's current DSM portfolio consists of demand response programs, energy efficiency programs, pricing tariffs and other activities. The company projects that by 2016, these programs will reduce peak demand by approximately 2,000 MW. In addition, the company plans to expand the DSM portfolio in 2013 by certifying a Small Commercial program and enhancing existing programs.

Georgia Power is in the midst of a transition to its generating fleet that will provide economic benefits to customers for generations. That includes new, highly-efficient natural gas generation at Plant McDonough-Atkinson; two new state-of-the-art nuclear facilities at Plant Vogtle; 21st-century coal; energy efficiency; and renewables.

The PSC is expected to vote on the company's IRP request this summer.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity.  The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates below the national average.  Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the outcome of regulatory proceedings, expected fuel mix, environmental regulations and related expenditures, plans for installation of environmental controls, renewable energy generation, impact of energy efficiency programs, customer demand, and economic benefits to customers. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, environmental laws including regulation of water, coal combustion byproducts, and emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon, soot, particulate matter, hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, and other substances, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the recent recession, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation measures, and any potential economic impacts resulting from federal fiscal and budgetary decisions; available sources and costs of fuels; ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which includes projects involving facility designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of future rate cases and negotiations; regulatory approvals and actions related to the Plant Vogtle expansion, including Georgia Public Service Commission approvals, Nuclear Regulatory Commission actions, and potential U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees; the ability of Georgia Power Company to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; and the direct or indirect effects on the Georgia Power Company's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources. Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.


SOURCE Georgia Power