Bigger than a giant peach, Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of US utility holding company Southern Company. The regulated utility provides electricity to about 2.4 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers throughout most of Georgia. It has interests in 14 fossil-fueled, 2 nuclear, and 20 hydroelectric power plants that give it about 16,000 MW of generating capacity. When necessary the company purchases excess power from nine small power producers. Georgia Power sells wholesale electricity to several cooperatives and municipalities in the region. The utility also offers energy efficiency, surge protection, and outdoor lighting products and services.
Decreased demand and lower commodity prices spurred by the global recession resulted in lower operating revenues in 2009. Favorable weather conditions spiked power demand in 2010, helping to lift both revenues and income.
To reduce carbon emissions Georgia Power is looking to increase its renewable energy portfolio via the purchase of energy from renewable generators and through investments in its own renewable generation plants. The company is also investing $43 million a year in 18 energy-efficiency programs expected to reduce power demand by 900 MW by 2013. As part of this broad initiative, in 2010 it signed a long-term contract with Waste Management to produce electricity from landfill gas.
In 2008 Georgia Power signed a 20-year contract for electricity that will be generated from environmentally-friendly wood waste. Yellow Pine Energy Company, LLC's biomass-fired facility will be located near Fort Gaines, Georgia.
The company released an integrated resource plan in 2008, which in addition to a renewables push, included building two additional nuclear power units at its power plant in Vogtle, near Waynesboro, Georgia (the country's first nuclear power plants in more than 30 years). In 2010 Georgia Power received a provisional agreement for loan guarantees from the Department of Energy to fund their construction, and in 2012 it secured US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval to go ahead and build these units.
To upgrade its coal plants, between 1990 and 2015 Georgia Power will invest $7 billion on environmental control technologies.