Georgia Power's New Renewable Energy Plan

Georgia Power's New Renewable Energy Plan

Move over coal power plants, because nuclear energy's ready to power the whole state of Georgia.
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This is an edited version of original article published by The Signal.


On July 28, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power’s (GP) long-term utility plan to add around 1,600 Megawatts of new renewable energy capacity – enough to power about 264,000 homes by 2021.

The plan requires 525 megawatts of solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy to be integrated into the system within the next three years. Contracts with outside firms using solar power and renewable energy plants will supply 1,050 megawatts by 2021. Smaller projects around Georgia will also contribute energy.

GP media spokesman John Kraft said that GP wants to use a wide variety of energy sources to provide customers a diversifying mix of reliable, affordable energy.

Currently, 5 percent of Georgia Power’s 1,000 megawatts of energy comes from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources that will expand to a 12 percent share once the Vogtle nuclear power plant expands in Augusta.

“Our major expansion will add two units of plant vogtle,” said Kraft. “Nuclear will play an increasing role around the clock providing emission energy, and the new units are expected to provide power for 60 to 80 years. Nuclear energy can provide energy around the clock.”

Sierra Club’s Chapter Director Ted Terry said he supports Georgia Power’s initiative to increase Georgians’ use of renewable energy but is against the expansion of nuclear power plants.

“It would be better to use large field solar power or other sources of energy instead, because the biggest issue with radioactive waste is how long it takes to degrade,” he said. “Nuclear power plants are costly to insure.”

Terry said the ultimate pathway to renewable energy is “from Midwest wind energy and solar power routes.”

GP will also rely on other sources of renewable energy, such as Georgia’s hydroelectric plants “which are 100 years old now and were some of the first sources of renewable energy,” said Kraft.

However, because Georgia doesn’t have many large rivers, the hydroelectric plants supply limited energy, and other renewable energy sources must make up for that.

“By the end of 2016, we expect to have 1 gigawatt or in other words, 1,000 megawatts of solar energy on our system which is unprecedented for Georgia and puts us near the top tier nationwide,” said Kraft.

“Economical, large-scale solar farms in rural areas will have thousands of acres covered in solar panels. We expect to continue our long term Integrated Resource Plan and follow the Renewable Energy Initiative, which will bring up to 160 megawatts of energy in the recent years to come.”

Wind power will be sourced from wind farms in Oklahoma while biomass will be burned for energy. The methane gases will be captured from burnt, disintegrating biological landfills.

And according to Kraft, environmentally-friendly initiatives don’t always mean higher costs.

“The way we [GP] have approached renewable energy is different from some other states who do it at the cost of their customers. One thing we try to make sure of is that renewable energy expansion will not put upward pressure on rates.”

“For instance, our advanced solar initiative that’s been in place since 2012 was designed so we could go out into the market and have competitive bidding for solar energy. We had solar developers look at what we needed and asked what’s your best price, resulting in great reductions to the cause of solar energy in progress. But you do have to be very careful with how it’s done, because some states have had huge bill increases,” he said.

A majority of the renewable energy will be generated from large-scale utility projects like Vogtle plant, while the rest will be distributed from wind energy and solar panels installed on the rooftops of homes and businesses. Megawatts will also be drawn from Georgia military bases.

Georgia Power’s potential nuclear plants will be evaluated over the next couple of months until 2017, after which the GP estimates it would take about seven years to obtain a plant-building license from the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission which will be followed by a decade of construction.

Now that Georgia’s Public Service Commission has authorized Georgia Power’s plan, several oil-fired and coal-fired plants will be replaced with wind and solar power. Natural gas-fired plants, which follow clean air regulations, may lower the costs of energy raised by operating coal-fired plants.

In 2011, coal generated 62 percent of Georgia Power’s energy supply. Coal energy’s use has been widespread in the United States due to its affordability, but now, GP will invest in cleaner emission technology and turn to renewable energy sources like solar and nuclear power instead. In the future, some coal plants will be converted into natural gas plants, reports Georgia Power.

Other future expansions, projects and goals are mapped out in the 20-year Integrated Resources Plan, which will indirectly affect Georgians’ electricity bills, pollution levels and construction in the state.

Cover Image Credit: Georgia Power

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An Open Letter To My Dog In Heaven

You're so incredibly loved and missed.
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You have been there every day for so long. I woke up and went to bed every day knowing you were there and would still be there when I awoke the next morning. You never failed to greet me with an ecstatic wagging tail and an adorable toothy smile whenever I walked into the room. I missed you every single second that we weren't together. We have been the best of friends since the day we met, and our bond has only strengthen throughout the years.

However, as I grew older, so did you. As I was able to do more, you were able to do less. I was able to drive, go to the movies on my own, and apply to college. But you, you couldn't jump as high anymore, you couldn't run as fast as you used to, you couldn't swim as much as you would have liked. Even when your abilities declined, you still remained the happiest pup I had ever met and would continue to always try your hardest to make me happy.

Then the day came. That dreadful, dreadful day. The day where I had to watch you take your last breath as I laid by your side, the day where I had to watch the vet take away the best friend that I had ever known. As horrible as that moment was, and as sad as I still am, I am at peace.

I am at peace because I know that you are in a much, much better place. I know that as soon as you took your last breath here on Earth, God swept your beautiful, innocent soul from the ground and flew you to Heaven. I know that you have gained your furry little wings that you so rightfully deserve, and I am proud that I was able to know and love such an amazing little angel as you.

As I am still here on Earth, I can't say that I know what Heaven above is like for you, but I hope that you are truly having the time of your life. I hope that you are surrounded by perfectly green meadows filled with colorful flowers and blanketed by the bluest skies and the brightest rays of sunshine. I hope that you have hundreds of different lakes, ponds, streams, and even oceans to swim in as much as your sweet little heart pleases. I hope that you have already met with all of our relatives up there and that they give you endless treats and belly rubs, since I no longer can. I hope that all of your pain and suffering has vanished, allowing you to be the young, energetic pup that you once were and have been longing to be for so long now.

Even though we are no longer physically together anymore, you will forever remain in my heart and soul. You were a blessing sent from above, and now, God needs you back. Thank you for completing me and teaching me important life lessons; I will carry you with me everywhere I go until we meet again. I love you, my guardian angel.

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Bring Home The Bagels And 4 Other Phrases PETA Thinks You Should Know About

Right when you thought PETA could not get anymore ridiculous, they release anti-animal language!

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) focuses their work on animal rights specifically in the food, clothing and entertainment industry as well as in laboratories. They are known for having a somewhat quirky view of things that tend to have a negative response. Most recently, they are facing backlash for promoting the idea that anti-animal language is the same as racism and homophobia. While they have given us some new phrases to consider, the internet has turned the idea into a meme. Listed below are the phrases they are trying to promote. This anti-animal language is sure to not "bring home the bagels" after all.

1. Feed two birds with one scone.

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Instead of saying "kill two birds with one stone", PETA wants us to start saying this. Out of all 5 phrases PETA is promoting, this one probably makes the most sense. Kill two birds with one stone is a popular idiom that is just that - an idiom. If you have not heard this phrase before it means to get two things done at once and there were no birds harmed in the making of this term.

While feeding two birds with one scone is kind of getting two things done at once, it loses the value the original expression has. But more importantly, bread is not good for birds and somebody needs to tell PETA this. There is no nutritional value for the birds and while it is fine in small doses, it is ultimately not healthy for birds. Knowing that makes it not-so-anti-animal, huh PETA?

2. Be the test tube.

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Okay, in what world does this make sense? PETA wants to replace another common phrase, "be the guinea pig", with this nonsense. A test tube is literally a glass tube closed on one end used to hold material for laboratories and experiments. While a test tube assists in experiments, it is not what is being tested. I get that "be the guinea pig" goes against their mission of ending animal testing, but at least match the phrase with something that makes sense! If this phrase goes into your repertoire, I am sorry but we cannot be friends.

3. Feed a fed horse.

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"Beat a dead horse" means wasting one's energy on something that cannot be changed. Instead of saying this we should say, feed a fed horse. Honestly, I love animals as much as the next person but they do not understand what we are saying or get offended! My dad is a veterinarian who works specifically on horses so I can attest that every horse (not including ones that malnourished and abused) are fed multiple times a day and giving them more food will not hurt them because they can regulate themselves. Feeding a fed horse is not wasting any energy on something that cannot be changed, you are just saving yourself energy for later honestly.

4. Bring home the bagels.

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Apparently "bring home the bacon" is too offensive for the members of PETA. This means to succeed or earn a living. I think PETA is against this phrase just because they are miss the taste of bacon but that is neither here nor there. Bring home the bagels does not correlate or make any sense in this matter. Has PETA ever seen Veggie Tales? Because if we are going to think by their logic, Veggie Tales proves that vegetables, or in this case wheat, have feelings. I certainly will not be bringing home the bagels but I will be bringing home bacon.

5. Take the flowers by the thorns.

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PETA's last suggestion was to replace "grab the bull by the horns" with a saying that does not compare to the meaning of the original phrase. I remember reading somewhere that flowers cry when we cut them - take that PETA. When someone "grabs the bull by the horns" that means they are taking charge of a situation. If I were to grab the flowers by the thorns, I am just causing pain to myself for no reason that is avoidable. This one is probably the worst of them all because there is no way one can comprehend this to make sense. Instead of causing harm to animals, let's cause harm to ourselves via thorns.

Not be anti-animal, but they say a leopard cannot change their spots and it seems that PETA cannot avoid being ridiculous. Overall, the thought was there but they could have presented new sayings that made sense and were parallel with the old, anti-animal phrase. Since releasing this new language on December 4th, PETA has turned into quite the meme on the internet that does not seem to be changing soon.

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