Ga. Power To Make First Foray Into Solar

By Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to let Georgia Power Co. begin developing solar energy in house but rejected a proposal requiring the utility to buy from private solar providers.

By a 4-1 margin, commissioners approved Georgia Powerâ¿¿s 2010 Integrated Resource Plan, a three-year roadmap for how the company plans to divide its electricity-supply portfolio.

Georgia Power will rely primarily on nuclear energy and natural gas on the supply side, according to the plan, while de-emphasizing the role of coal because of cost volatility and uncertainty over future federal environmental regulation and legislation.

But the IRP also calls for reducing demand for electricity through a series of conservation initiatives.

⿿We think it will add more demand-side management and energy efficiency programs for our customers,⿝ Georgia Power spokeswoman Lynn Wallace said after Tuesday⿿s vote.

Under an agreement reached between the utility and PSC staff, Georgia Power will build up to one megawatt of solar generating capacity on its own.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to defeat a motion to add an additional megawatt of solar power to the plan that Georgia Power would purchase from private solar companies.

⿿There⿿s been some huge inroads in solar,⿝ said Commissioner Chuck Eaton, who made the motion. ⿿It⿿s an opportunity for more research.⿝

But Commissioner Doug Everett argued that requiring Georgia Power to buy even a small quantity of solar power from the private sector would increase ratepayersâ¿¿ bills while customers already are facing a huge rate hike.

Georgia Power filed a request last week with the PSC for an increase that would drive up rates by more $1 billion during the next three years.

⿿I can⿿t see adding even a small amount to ratepayers at this time,⿝ Everett said.

Wallace said the in-house foray into solar power would be an educational experience for the company.

⿿This is an opportunity for Georgia Power to learn about the technology and the procurement,⿝ she said.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2010/07/05/daily7.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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