Ga. Power officials speak on the needs of residents as state grows

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 8:02 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia is one of the fastest-growing states, both residentially and business-wise, according to experts.

On Wednesday, WALB’s Jim Wallace was joined by Georgia Power Area Manager Jay Smith.

“Georgia Power has to meet the power needs of all those folks. What is the company doing to meet the need?” Wallace asked.

“This year, in particular, is one of the years, every three years, we work with the Public Service Commission, to forecast out what the loads are going to be over the next 20 years. And to come up with a plan for how we are going to satisfy those loads. At the same time, look at the current generating fleet that we have,” said Smith. “Analyzing that to see if there are units or parts of those generation facilities that could be replaced with something that operates more efficiently. Also trying to increase the renewables that we have or the system. There is a lot that actually goes on in the background. But particularly in this time of growth and transition that we are in.”

“So Georgia Power is doing a lot of things to make sure that power is there. What is Georgia Power finding out about the growth expected for Georgia over the next 20 years?”

“We are seeing, Georgia is the number one state to do business in. Georgia Power is the top utility for economic development. So we are working together with state economic development and with the allies, Georgia allies, to facilitate that growth. But certainly, we are seeing it here. We’ve got the electric car manufacturer, a new one, that’s going in East of Atlanta with a huge load. And the generation facilities are going to have to meet that demand. And that’s what we are working to do,” Smith answered.

“We have a nuclear plant that is being built in Georgia as well. And I know Georgia Power is trying to show green leadership by shutting down most of its coal operating plants as well,” said Wallace.

“The coal operating plants with the environmental controls required to run those plants have become economically unfeasible. So we have replaced a lot of those units and are replacing a lot of these with units with gas. But solar and wind renewable is a huge part of that. Part of what we are doing now too is installing battery storage. To where we can better learn how to utilize that. Battery storage makes solar very user-friendly. Solar comes and goes, but the batteries are able to level that out. To where we can depend on the output from the source to provide service,” Smith said.

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