ATLANTA – Georgia Power would retire two coal-burning units and two gas-fired turbines at two power plants by the beginning of August under an agreement filed with the state Public Service Commission (PSC) Monday.

Capitol Beat News Service
This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

But the Atlanta-based utility also would put the brakes on a proposal to develop 1,000 megawatts of energy generating capacity through battery storage by 2030.

Representatives of Georgia Power and the PSC’s Public Interest Advocacy Staff signed off on the 14-page agreement.

If approved by the commission, it would form the framework for an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which the utility submits to the PSC every three years indicating where it plans to get the power-generation sources necessary to meet the needs of its 2.7 million customers for the next 20 years.

The original IRP update Georgia Power filed last January called for retiring nine coal-burning units, leaving only two of the four units at Plant Bowen near Cartersville. The utility has been phasing out coal for the last decade amid tighter government regulation of carbon emissions.

Under the new agreement, Georgia Power would close two coal-burning units at Plant Wansley near Carrollton, one gas turbine at Wansley and a second gas unit at Plant Boulevard in Savannah by Aug. 1.

Most of the remaining units slated for retirement would be closed by the end of 2028. However, the amended IRP would leave the decision whether to retire the two coal-burning units at Plant Bowen up to the PSC.

The agreement filed Monday also would deny approval of the 1,000-megawatt battery storage project Georgia Power requested in the January IRP. It raised concerns over whether the potential benefits of the project would justify the cost.

However, the IRP still would “provisionally” authorize the company to develop, own and operate the proposed 265-megawatt McGrau Ford Battery Facility in Cherokee County, subject to the PSC approving procurement and construction agreements for the project.

Georgia Power’s plans to step up its investment in renewable energy would remain intact under the agreement. The utility is planning to develop an additional 2,300 megawatts of solar power.

The updated IRP also retained Georgia Power’s plans to test “tall wind” technology by building two wind turbines 140 meters to 165 meters high capable of generating 4 megawatts each. Under the agreement, the PSC would approve the costs of the project but retain the right to decide later whether to allow the utility to recover those costs from ratepayers.

The commission is expected to vote on the updated IRP next month.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.