Solar Booming In The Peach State Today, But The Future Is Offshore Wind

State Economy

The population of the “Peach State,” Georgia is approximately 11.02 million people[1]. Georgia is the 8th most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, Georgia’s economy was ranked 9th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the mining, agriculture, aerospace, textile, timber, and tourism industries[3].

Environmental Policies

Georgia is one of only 13 states that has neither a Renewable Portfolio Standard nor a Renewable Energy Goal[4].

Power Generation Capabilities

In November 2022, utilities used natural gas (45.5 %), nuclear energy (30.3 %), coal (12.9 %), and renewable energy (11.3 %), and to generate electricity in Georgia[5]. Solar, biomass, and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Georgia.

In November 2022, the average cost of residential electricity in Georgia was 13.51 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.64 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Georgia include:

  • 213 MW Solar + 40 MW Energy Storage Project – In November 2021, NextEra commissioned the Decatur Solar Energy Center in southwest Georgia.
  • 200 MW Solar + 40 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2021, German power company, RWE commissioned the Hickory Park solar plus energy storage project in southern Georgia.
  • 200 MW Solar Projects – In March 2021, Georgia cooperatives, Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch Corporation commissioned three utility solar power projects in southern Georgia.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – Israeli renewable energy company, Doral Renewables is continuing work on the Brenneman Solar project in central Georgia. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – In December 2022, Anglo-Dutch energy company, Shell commissioned the Washington County Solar project in southwest Georgia.
  • 107 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, Georgia electric cooperative, Walton EMC commissioned the Snipesville II Solar project in southeast Georgia.
  • 103 MW Solar Project – Tennessee solar company, Silicon Ranch is continuing work on the Snipesville III Solar project in southeast Georgia. The project is forecast to be commissioned by July 2023.
  • 100 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, IEA commissioned the Lumpkin Solar Park, which is located in Lumpkin County in northern Georgia.
  • 86 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, Silicon Ranch commissioned the Snipesville I Solar project in southeast Georgia.
  • 65 MW Energy Storage Project – Georgia Power is continuing work on the Mossy Branch grid-charging battery system in western Georgia. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 25 MW Solar Project – In January 2021, American infrastructure company, IEA commissioned the Appling Solar Farm, which is located in Appling County in southeast Georgia.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – In January 2021, American solar company, Silicon Ranch Corporation commissioned the Odom Solar Farm, which is located in Colquitt County in southwest Georgia.

Conclusion

Coal mining began in the northwestern region of Georgia in the 1830s[6]. Coal was initially used to fuel steam engines for the railroad, stoves, and forges.

Georgia’s last coal mine closed in the 1980s. The coal used to fuel Georgia’s power plants is now brought by rail from Wyoming and Illinois.

In 2010, Georgia used coal-fueled power plants to generate 56.5% of the state’s electricity[7]. In November 2022, Georgia used coal-fueled power plants to generate only 12.9 % of the state’s electricity. Why the decrease?

  1. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[8].
  2. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal without subsidies is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like solar.
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

Georgia’s utilities are now aggressively developing solar projects across the state. In July 2022, utility, Georgia Power announced plans to deploy 2,300 MW of new renewable energy projects over the next three years.

Georgia’s undeveloped solar and biomass resource potential is insufficient to completely replace the 58.4% of the electricity generated from natural gas and coal in November 2022. However, the solar and biomass, coupled with wind off the east coast of Georgia have the potential to replace all the electricity generated by natural gas and coal fueled power plants.

Solar may be booming in Georgia today, but the Peach State’s green energy future is offshore wind

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

[1] Georgia Population 2023, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Georgia – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Georgia State Profile and Energy Estimates

[6] US Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement – Georgia

[7] EIA, Electric Power Sector Consumption Estimates, Georgia 1960-2018

[8] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *