One more coal plant down, only a few hundred more to go…

A new solar utility company in Georgia has big plans to replace several coal-fired power plants being retired in the state. When Georgia Power Company announced it was set to take two coal-burning units offline at its Plant Branch facility in order to reduce the area’s dependence on coal energy, Georgia Solar Utilities Inc. offered to build a solar plant on-site and sell them the plant and power through a power-purchasing agreement. Georgia Power declined the offer so Georgia Solar is now going it alone.

Located near Milledgeville, Georgia right next door to Georgia Power’s coal plant, the new solar plant will cover 2,200 acres and cost approximately $320 million. It will be capable of generating 90 megawatts of power, double that of the solar system that Georgia Power already has in place. That is, the laws governing utility companies in Georgia changes and it can get built.

A law passed in 1973 gave Georgia Power Company exclusive rights to provide electricity to local residents. If that law remains in place, Georgia Solar will have a difficult time not only getting the rest of its funding for the new plant but also in finding customers. Thankfully, at least one member of the General Assembly believes the time has come for the law to change. Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald said that the law “has worked and served its purpose” and that “maybe it needs to be tweaked a little bit to come in line with today’s standards and technology.”

Let’s hope Bubba is right and that he can get the rest of the GA to agree and make the changes to allow Georgia Solar to build and operate this new solar plant.

[via Atlanta Business Chronicle]

Image Credit: kateausburn/Flickr