The Future is Bright for Renewables in Georgia
Georgia Transmission and Green Power EMC stand ready for increased renewable energy demand.
As leaders across the U.S. and the world call for increased renewable energy, some parts of the country grapple with the complexities of connecting new energy generation sources to existing high-voltage electric infrastructure. In Georgia, however, the outlook for increasing our renewable energy generation is bright.
The state’s reliable grid network and plentiful sunshine make Georgia ideal for homegrown solar energy — earning it No. 7 in the nation for solar installations, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“The power grid in Georgia stands ready to increase its renewable generation,” says Joe Sowell, vice president for system planning at Georgia Transmission. “We’ve planned the transmission system for the growth of solar energy in Georgia for years — using our robust forecasting and planning process to ensure the state can continue to connect to the reliable, affordable energy needed to maintain a high quality of life and strong economic growth.”
Georgia Transmission is responsible for the careful planning, building and maintaining of the high-voltage transmission lines and substations that connect power generation to local electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) across the state. As a vital connective piece of the electric grid, Georgia Transmission has implemented new technology and infrastructure that helps transport renewable energy.
Additionally, Georgia Transmission meticulously forecasts future infrastructure needs based on trends in solar energy growth to stay ahead of transmission issues and to accommodate increased capacity over short-term and long-term timelines.
“Business has been one of the primary driving forces behind the growth of renewable energy in the state due to added environmental considerations and corporate social responsibility commitments,” explains Sowell. “When a large company decides to build facilities in Georgia rather than another state, a major factor in that decision is the capability to help power their operations with renewable energy.”
Georgia Transmission and related company, Green Power EMC, have a track record spanning decades when it comes to responding to the renewable energy demands of consumers and businesses, and supporting the economic prosperity of Georgia. Founded in 2001 to source renewable generation for the cooperative energy portfolio, Green Power EMC is owned by and serves Georgia Transmission’s same 38 member EMCs. In recent years, in partnership with Green Power EMC, Georgia’s EMCs have significantly grown their solar portfolio, with nearly 1,000 megawatts online today, cementing their role as a national leader among all U.S. electric cooperatives in utility-scale solar energy development.
“Renewable energy has served as an important economic development tool in Georgia, helping to attract new businesses to the state and helping existing businesses achieve their sustainability goals,” says Jeff Pratt, president of Green Power EMC. “We’re proud to partner with our member EMCs and Georgia Transmission to help Georgia remain the #1 state to do business through affordable market-driven clean energy.”
In 2021 alone, Georgia’s EMCs brought more than 375 megawatts of solar energy online — enough clean energy to help power 62,000 EMC households and offset the equivalent of more than 685,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The development of these solar installations also created more than 1,000 construction jobs for Georgians. With another 553 megawatts under construction across the state, Georgia’s EMCs, in partnership with Georgia Transmission and Green Power EMC, continue to work together and stand ready to meet the growing renewable energy demands of Georgia’s residents and businesses.