Coal has historically fueled about two-thirds of all electricity production in Georgia. However, electricity production from coal has decreased more than 50% over the past 10 years. Natural gas, biomass, and solar energy have all grown rapidly to fulfill Georgia's electricity needs. Georgia has two nuclear power plants, which provide about a quarter of the state's electricity. The Vogtle nuclear plant, located in Waynesboro, is currently having two additional reactors installed. These are the first reactors approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 30 years. Upon completion, Vogtle will become the largest nuclear station in the United States and one of the largest power plants of any fuel type nationwide in terms of annual energy output.
Georgia has over 24 million acres of forest covering about two-thirds of the state. For this reason, Georgia leads the nation in electricity produced from wood and wood waste. About three-fifths of the renewable energy produced in Georgia comes from biomass. "The Peach State" also exports $242 million worth of wood pellets, more than any other state in the nation. Wood pellets are a biofuel made from compressed organic material, usually sawdust. Nearly all the rest of Georgia's renewable energy generation comes from hydroelectricity. Solar energy has been late to the game in Georgia, but is growing quickly. In 2015, 248 megawatts of utility-scale and distributed solar PV capacity were installed statewide, increasing total capacity more than five-fold. Georgia installed even more solar panels in 2016, bringing the total capacity up to 1,076 MW.
Georgia Electricity Prices
Georgia has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Georgia residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Georgia residents in November 2016 was 10.93¢ per kWh, a whole 1.82¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.75¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Georgia, though, having increased more than 20% over the past 10 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Georgia residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Georgia Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
Georgia has doubled it's electricity production from natural gas over the past 5 years. Electricity production from coal has fallen 37% over the same time period.
Georgia Energy Sector Employment
According to the Southeast Clean Energy Industry Census, the Georgia solar industry employed approximately 2,956 Georgians in 2016. The largest solar farm in Georgia as of March 2017 is the Simon Solar farm, located in Social Circle. This project was completed in 2013 by developer Silicon Ranch and employed 265 people during its construction. Distributed solar is also a major job-creator, employing approximately 2,164 installers and 373 salespeople. Biomass creates the second most renewable energy jobs in Georgia, employing 1,467 people. In 2011, Georgia Biomass completed construction on one of the largest, most modern biomass plants in the world. Located in Waycross, Georgia, this plant has created 80 direct local jobs and over 300 indirect jobs.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Georgia Utility Companies
The largest utility companies in Georgia are Georgia Power Company (GPC), Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and MEAG Power. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
Georgia Power Company (GPC)
- Subsidiary of Southern Company
- Serves approximately 2,127,658 Georgia residents
- Headquartered in Atlanta, GA
- Uses coal for about 34% of electricity supply
- Merged with Savannah Electric and Power Company in 2006
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
- Largest power supply coop in the United States
- Headquartered in Tucker, GA
- Supplies power to 38 local coops, serving more than 4.1 million Georgia residents
- Uses coal for about 23% of electricity supply
- Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1975
- Headquartered in Atlanta, GA
- Supplies power to 49 participant communities, serving approximately 634,000 Georgia residents
- Uses coal for about 14% of electricity supply
Arcadia's Georgia Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Georgia residents:
As a Georgia utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Georgia. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Georgia utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.