We’ll be seeing more about solar…

November 24, 2012 13:50 pm

by Bridget Cantrell · 6 comments

According to an ABC article:

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved a plan by Georgia Power Co. Tuesday to acquire an additional 210 megawatts of solar generating capacity, more than tripling its investment in solar energy.

A “Me Too” Flashback to Sept: Georgia Power’s proposal came less than a week after a new Macon-based solar power company filed an application with the PSC seeking up to 500 megawatts in solar generating capacity as a starting point toward an eventual goal of 2,000 megawatts.

Under Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative, the company will buy solar power produced by both large “utility-scale” solar farms and from smaller projects operated by residential and commercial property owners.

Flashback to June: Georgia Power’s Solar Buyback program is fully subscribed and is not accepting new customers into the program at this time.

Some highlights from the article:

  • The PSC supported Georgia Power’s plan unanimously.
  • A subsequent motion encouraged other solar utilities to pursue their plans with the legislature.
  • Georgia Solar Utilities, a Macon company, filed an application with the PSC for authority to generate solar energy in Georgia on a utility scale.
  • The commission’s staff recommended that the PSC dismiss the application, citing the 1973 Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act.
  • Rather than dismiss the proposal outright, the commission urged Georgia Solar Utilities to appeal to the General Assembly to amend that law and open up the solar business to competition.
  • Commissioner Stan Wise said the PSC has no business taking sides on an issue likely to go before Georgia lawmakers. “If they’re successful across the street, so be it,” he said, referring to the location of the state Capitol. “[But] for us to involve ourselves in what goes on across the street is inappropriate.”
  • Robert Green, CEO of Georgia Solar Utilities, said his company is prepared to fight for its right to compete for business in Georgia when lawmakers convene this winter.
Senate Bill 401 would have made it legal for solar companies to sell excess energy. The bill had bi-partisan support but Georgia Power opposed it and the bill was shelved for 2012.
So – will this be the session the monopoly gets broken?

Breaking the monopoly requires changing the law. It would be a huge legislative battle, with the electric-membership cooperatives and four dozen cities that sell electricity joining in, too.

Lobbyists, start your engines…

 

seenbetrdayz November 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I know a lot of people say that electricity is one of those things where you can’t really have free market competition, but I for one would like to at least see some alternative than the current ‘Georgia Power gets what Georgia Power wants’ system we have in place.

Vesuvius November 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

“Commissioner Stan Wise said the PSC has no business taking sides on an issue likely to go before Georgia lawmakers. ‘If they’re successful across the street, so be it,’ he said, referring to the location of the state Capitol. ‘[But] for us to involve ourselves in what goes on across the street is inappropriate.’”

Say what? This is an extremely hypocritical position to be taken by the same commissioner who worked intimately with the General Assembly in 2009 to pass a law forcing Georgia Power customers to pay in advance $1.8 billion in financing costs for two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle that won’t be online for at least another 5 years. Please . . .

Harry November 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Maybe someday the electorate will wise up.

saltycracker November 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Given the mess GP probably wishes they were allowed more latitude with gas & coal.
Meanwhile investors would be wise to step back from Southern until the dust settles.
And maybe David S. should have run as an Independent or Republican……

David Staples November 25, 2012 at 3:21 pm

We’ve got a few projects to finish around the farm first, but we’re looking at adding solar in a year or two. I’m at least a Greystone EMC customer, so my rates aren’t as high as Georgia Power’s, but summertime usage still is fairly expensive with the tiered pricing model we’ve got. I did find Stan’s comment ironic about influencing legislation across the street. Just wait for a situation to come up that benefits his employer Georgia Power and it’ll then be his duty to influence legislation across the street again. :-)

novicegirl November 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I think the idea of signing up with a competitor to GA Power or the EMCs, like GA Solar Utilities, will work really great until you’re watching a tied football game, with a minute left to go, and some clouds roll over their solar farm.

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