Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 16)

Georgia’s energy outlook BY HEATHER TEILHET, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE, GEMC Clean Energy Reality Check Series, Article No. 5 W Reality check: Hydropower in Georgia 1,046-megawatt (MW) hydro project. The Rocky Mountain facility features a reservoir at the top of Rocky Mountain and a lower reservoir that wraps around the base of the mountains. As discussed previously in this Reality Check series, a standard federal definition of “renewable energy” does not exist. Low-impact hydro, however, is one form of hydropower that uses run-ofthe-river water flows to produce energy. These types of plants are very small in comparison to the vast majority of hydroelectric facilities in Georgia and nationwide, and are generally undisputed as a renewable resource. Green Power EMC, the first and largest renewable utility in Georgia, uses low-impact hydro from the Tallassee Shoals Hydroelectric Project. This renewable hydropower project is located on the Middle Oconee River in Athens, and is a 2.3-MW facility. In July 2004, the Tallassee Shoals Project became the first certified low-impact hydro facility in Georgia, and the 12th in the nation. According to George B. Taylor Jr., senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives for OPC, several factors affect Georgia’s ability to expand generation capacity from hydropower. “While geography, environmental concerns and regulatory requirements are all impediments for adding hydropower, the best choice for additional generation is primarily dependent on economics of the alternatives,” he says. Taylor, who has worked in the industry for 40 years, says that Georgia has potential for growth in lowimpact hydro projects. “While new large-scale projects may face environmental challenges, low-impact hydro is another story,” Taylor explains. “Low-impact projects are still primarily dependent on economics. The fact that very few have been built shows that right now, it is hard to make the More online at www.georgiamagazine.org e’ve reached the fifth installment of GEORGIA Magazine’s examination of renewable energy potential in Georgia. This month, we tackle the issue of hydropower: the production of energy from flowing water, such as rivers and streams. Experts consider hydropower to be among the least expensive and most efficient sources of renewable energy available, producing approximately 19 percent of the world’s electricity and an estimated 10 percent of electric generating capacity in the U.S. Georgians benefit from the 28 hydropower plants in our state. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oglethorpe Power Corp. (OPC), Green Power Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) each own and operate hydropower plants in Georgia ranging in size and energy output. These hydro facilities play a meaningful role in providing EMC members with affordable and reliable energy. [Georgia Power Co. (GPC) has a significant number of hydro projects as well.] Pumped-storage hydroelectric projects are often large in scale and have great capacity for grid energy storage, where water is pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation reservoir. During periods of low electricity demand, water is pumped into the higher reservoir. When demand increases, water is released back into the lower reservoir through a turbine, generating electricity. Doug Fulle is vice president of Environmental Affairs for OPC, the nation’s largest power supply cooperative. “Pumped storage is like a battery,” he says. “It stores energy for release when it is needed.” The Rocky Mountain Hydroelectric Plant in Floyd County is a pumped-storage facility that provides electricity to EMC members, and OPC is the majority owner of this 16 economics work. Serious consideration for new hydro in Georgia would be on the small scale.” The state of Georgia is blessed with the resource of flowing water. A reality check on Georgia’s hydroelectric potential shows that most large-scale resources in our state have already been developed for energy. Adding more large-scale projects may not be feasible, but there is promise for the addition of smaller low-impact hydropower plants, if costs decrease and consumer demand continues to rise. Reality check: Hydropower Pros: Hydroelectric dams produce nonpolluting power, and once built, harnessing the flow of water to generate power is inexpensive and efficient. Cons: Regulations and public opposition will likely prevent further development of largescale hydroelectric plants. High costs for land and construction are also impediments to hydro industry growth. Outlook: Low-impact hydro may be a growing industry in Georgia if costs decrease and demand continues to rise. Economies of scale limit this resource’s ability to contribute in a significant way toward overall demand for energy, as is the case with most renewable energy sources. GEORGIA MAGAZINE http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2011

Georgia Magazine - May 2011
Contents
Viewpoint
Mailbox
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar
Currents
Georgia’s Energy Outlook
Special Energy Report
Dolphin Tales
Agrability in Georgia
Creature Comforts
Georgia@home
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Gardens
Georgia Cooks
Snapshot

Georgia Magazine - May 2011

Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page Cover1)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page Cover2)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Magazine - May 2011 (Page 3)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Contents (Page 4)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Viewpoint (Page 5)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Mailbox (Page 6)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Picture This? (Page 7)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia News (Page 8)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia News (Page 9)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 10)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 11)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 12)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Calendar (Page 13)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Currents (Page 14)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Currents (Page 15)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia’s Energy Outlook (Page 16)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Special Energy Report (Page 17)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 18)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 19)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 20)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Dolphin Tales (Page 21)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 22)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 23)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 24)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 25)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 26)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Agrability in Georgia (Page 27)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 28)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 29)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 30)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Creature Comforts (Page 31)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 32)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 33)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 34)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia@home (Page 35)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 36)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 37)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 38)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Around Georgia (Page 39)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - My Georgia (Page 40)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - My Georgia (Page 41)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Gardens (Page 42)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Gardens (Page 43)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 44)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 45)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 46)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 47)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 48)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Georgia Cooks (Page 49)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50A)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50B)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50C)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50D)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page 50E)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page Cover3)
Georgia Magazine - May 2011 - Snapshot (Page Cover4)
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