With Plant Vogtle on the eastern side of the state receiving a barrage of bad news and bad press over the past few months, Georgia Power has been looking for something — anything —that could counter all of the negativity and reframe the debate abut clean energy in Georgia. With the announcement Tuesday of an 800 acre solar farm that will contain more than 500,000 solar panels, they may have found it.
The farm is projected to begin construction soon and should provide power for 35 years, beginning in 2019, the projected opening date It will be located close to Robins Air Force Base, and it will have the ability to serve the base directly in times of grid outages.
“It is about enhancing the military value of the economic engine of this community and of this state,” says Major General, Robert McMahon.
The 139-megawatt facility will be the largest single solar project ever to be constructed by Georgia Power.
Georgia continues to grow, with 2.5-4 Million people expected to be added during the next quarter of a century. Those people (plus those of us who are already here) are going to need electricity. And tighter regulations from DC aren’t making it terribly easy to get that power from coal. What’s a utility to do?
Georgia Power has selected a site in Southwest Georgia – Stewart County to be exact – to begin study that could bring construction of a new nuclear power plant in 2030. Kristi Swartz of EnergyWire/Environment & Energy Publishing has some of the details.
Georgia Power has identified a site in Stewart County that is “suitable for further study and evaluation,” according to a document filed as a response to the Georgia Public Service Commission staff. The staff asked for more information on what, specifically, the company will do over the next five years to preserve nuclear power as an option after it was mentioned in its long-term Integrated Resource Plan.
Georgia Power said it estimates that it will take roughly seven years to secure approval from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and an additional 10 years to gain state regulatory approvals and build. This is without detailed site evaluation, preparation and planning as well as obtaining a litany of additional local, state and federal permits, especially if the reactors have a new design and are on a new site.
The company evaluated its existing Plant Vogtle site, and it was not identified as a site to further study at this time, spokesman Jacob Hawkins said.
This is why the utility said it needs to start now to make sure it can add more nuclear to its fleet during the 2030 decade if necessary. But Georgia Power made it equally clear that this should not be taken as a commitment that the utility would be building those reactors.
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