The Industrial Authority is working to find locations for some of the 210 MW Georgia Power got the PSC to shift from biomass to solar back in September. That’s a good next step.
Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT 23 Dec 2012, Solar power push has Authority working to establish connections,
Since the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power Company’s plan Nov. 20 to add 210 megawatts of solar power to its electrical grid, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority has been devising strategies to draw solar energy producers to South Georgia.
Georgia Power will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) from solar energy collection and production companies in early 2013, according to the PSC, and the company will contract with the lowest bidders to purchase their energy and place it on the Georgia Power electrical grid for public consumption.
Georgia Power plans to add 90 megawatts to its grid from distributed generation (small companies producing between 100 kilowatts and 1 megawatt), and 120 megawatts of large utility-scale projects producing up to 20 megawatts each. The company plans to price the solar energy at $0.13 per kWh for distributed generation and up to $0.12 per kWh for utility-scale projects, according to the PSC.
This government-approved commercial push for solar energy could be a boon to sunny South Georgia as well as the greater Valdosta area specifically, and the Authority is prepared to accommodate the solar energy producers they expect.
There’s more in the VDT story. It’s pretty much what Col. Ricketts also told me after the VLCIA meeting Tuesday a week ago. He asked me if I knew what “distributed” meant. I pointed out Georgia Power’s version of distributed was actually not very distributed, compared to other places. If Bangladesh is so distributed most installations aren’t even on the grid, the rooftop solar for grid outage independence being proposed after Hurricane Sandy is more what we could use around here, like Austin Energy did way back in 2003. I can attest it works; my smaller set of solar panels has batteries, and many an outage they’ve weathered fine. There’s also distributed like on Bainbridge Island City Hall or the solar panels that could be on top of Lowndes High, showing everybody on I-75 that our community is progressive.
I agree with Col. Ricketts that working with Georgia Power to site some of those medium size solar plants in south Georgia is a good thing. However, as Moore’s Law continues to push solar prices down and deployments up, Georgia Power’s 210 MW attempt to head off big competition from GaSU’s proposed 90 MW solar plant will increasingly be seen as not nearly enough. As Col. Ricketts pointed out, the proposed solar business park in Decatur County is going nowhere without a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). And as long as Georgia Power gets to dole out PPAs because of that 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act Georgia will continue to lag behind places like New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Germany that are much farther north with much less sunshine than sunny south Georgia where we need to get on with jobs for electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, architects, and professors in installing truly distributed solar power.
I commend the Industrial Authority on working with Georgia Power for those mid-size solar PPAs. And even more for doing their own PR about it. This is a marvelous improvement over less than two years ago when I had to ask via LTE in the VDT, plus personal appearance before the VLCIA board, plus a written direct letter, What is your plan? and “…you are willing to do publicity. Why not do it for real clean energy, and on a much larger scale?” Now they have a plan, and they are doing publicity for it. Excellent!
Hm, I mentioned rooftop solar in Austin, Houston, and Raleigh back then, too. Maybe we’ll get distributed here soon.