How can we get Georgia to move ahead in solar power?

If we can’t expect Georgia Power or Southern Company to change their tune about solar power, what can we do? Legislate and raise public pressure, while getting on with installing what solar power we can.

Maybe it’s time to pass something like HB 267 that would limit Georgia Power’s profits on that 19-month-late and $1 billion over budget nuclear boondoggle at Plant Vogtle. Instead of pouring more money down that broken concrete pit on the Savannah River, we need something like GA SB 51, The Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act, to fix Georgia’s special solar financing problem, the antique 1973 Territorial Electric Service Act. That’s the 40-year-old antiquated law that SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning says “we need to protect”. Maybe SO does, for Fanning’s huge raises in compensation. Georgia Power and SO are not only defending that antique law, they’re preventing a Georgia Renewable Portfolio Standard (REPS) by stopping passage of bills like HB 503. Georgia Power, SO, and super-lobby ALEC systematically oppose renewable energy standards. They do this so successfully there are no REPS in Southern Company (SO)’s service territory, nor in most of SO’s surrounding “Competitive Generation Opportunities” states. One of the few exceptions is North Carolina, and a bill was introduced there to eliminate NC’s REPS.

Maybe it’s even time to do something about Georgia Power’s 11% guaranteed profit. Isn’t Georgia Power supposed to be a utility operating for the good of Georgians? Why does it get a guaranteed profit to pass on to Southern Company shareholder dividends and SO executive bonuses?

Georgia Power and even Southern Company could suddenly flip for solar power like Austin Energy did in 2003 and Cobb EMC did in 2012. But that probably won’t happen without a lot of public pressure, legal requirements by the Georgia legislature or PSC, or a shareholder revolt. So let’s start with the public pressure….

-jsq

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