Southern's Georgia Utility Proposes Coal Cuts, Removal of Dams

01/31/19 05:04 PM EST
   By Micah Maidenberg 
 

Southern Co. wants to reduce its coal-fired generation capacity in Georgia and add new renewable-power resources, the latest example of a utility pulling back on coal.

Georgia Power, Southern's largest electric utility, has proposed decertifying five coal-generating units in the state, according to a new planning document the company has filed with the state's utility regulator.

Utilities have moved to shut down coal capacity amid relatively low prices for natural gas and as prices for wind and solar power have fallen. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of coal-fired generators in the U.S. fell 36%, according to federal data.

Georgia Power also said Thursday the plan acknowledges continued economic pressure on its other coal-fired units in the state.

In addition, the utility has proposed to discontinue operating two hydro-power dams--the Langdale and the Riverview--that are located on Chattahoochee River. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would oversee a multiyear review process over that proposal, which could result in the removal of the dams.

The utility says in the filing it submitted to regulators, called an integrated resource plan, that it wants to procure up to 1,000 megawatts of new renewable capacity and increase energy efficiency so that peak demand by 2022 would be 10% lower than it is at present.

"As our generation mix evolves toward more natural gas fueled plants and intermittent renewable resources, resilience will grow in importance," Allen Reaves, senior vice president and senior production officer, said in prepared remarks.

Georgia Power also is seeking permission to shut down all of what are called ash ponds, which hold ash waste generated from coal, in the state, the company said.

The Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in Georgia, must approve Georgia Power's proposal.

 

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 31, 2019 17:04 ET (22:04 GMT)

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