GA PSC to require twice as much solar from Georgia Power? @ GA PSC 2013-06-18

Commissioner McDonald wants twice as much solar power from Georgia Power, Georgia Power execs testify before GA PSC while Commissioner Stan Wise asked questions leading to Georgia Power maybe saying that would cost more, yesterday at the Georgia Public Service Commission in Atlanta. Doubling from 271 megawatts planned to more than 500 MW would be good; at least that’s a start on catching up to New Jersey’s already-installed 1,000 MW. reported today, Georgia Power tells regulators adding solar generation will cost consumers more: PSC Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald wants Georgia Power to double solar generation,

Executives with the state’s largest electric utility told regulators Tuesday they don’t need more generating capacity and that closing plants to add solar would boost consumers’ bills.

Georgia Power Co. executives also told the Public Service Commission that a proposal to make another company a monopoly provider of solar power was unworkable.

GA PSC: Doug Everrett (1: south Georgia), Tim Echols (2: east Georgia), Chairman Chuck Eaton (3: metro Atlanta), Stan Wise (5 north Georgia), Bubba McDonald (4: west Georgia) The testimony came during the wind-up phase of a series of hearings on Georgia Power’s long-range plans. The company is seeking permission to close 15 coal-fired generators across the state or to convert them to natural gas, which would remove 2,100 megawatts of generating capacity, roughly equal to the amount that will come on line in 2017 with the addition of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. The company would still have a 25 percent excess as reserve.

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald has said he wants the long-range plan to effectively double Georgia Power’s solar capacity, which is currently planned to total 271 megawatts.

As the story also notes, Commissioner Stan Wise asked many questions about excess capacity, and it seemed to me their purpose was to get Georgia Power to say that solar would put people out of jobs. The JAX story concludes the assembled four Georgia Power executives said it would raise rates.

I took video, so we shall see what they actually said. If they said that, they’re wrong, or at least they would be wrong if Georgia Power would stop pretending there are no disruptive distributed solar power icebergs in front of their Titanic and get on with a smart grid to turn solar into a source of profit for their company and lower bills for their customers.

But the GA Power execs certainly did say they had quite a bit of excess capacity, about 25%. More on that later, too.