Georgia Magazine - October 2011 - (Page 17)

TODAY? depends on many factors, including power plant operating characteristics, Clean Energy Reality Check Series, Article No. 9fuel prices, the availability of renewable resources, and daily and seasonal available to generate Georgia’s energy outlook BY HEATHER Power plants are not always REPRESENTATIVE, GEMC electricity. Electricity output TEILHET, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS I changes in electricity demand. Wind turbines only operate when the wind is blowing; natural gas plants are called on to manage fluctuations in demand; An ‘all-of plants schedule maintenance for the Spring and Fall when electricity coal the-above’ energy strategy demand is down. The graphic below shows how many days each generation type typically operates over the course of a year in the United States. This n January 2011, this Reality Check Which plants are used the most in the U.S. today? series began to examine traditiondiverse mix ensures that affordable electricity is available year-round. al and alternative energy fuels in Power plants are not always available to generate electricity. Electricity output depends on Georgia. We’ve determined the pros, many factors, including power plant operating characteristics, fuel pricSolar (69) cons, viability and roadblocks to enes, availability of renewable resources, and daily and seasonal changes ergy sources such as solar, wind, in electricity demand. Wind turbines only operate when the Wind (110) biomass, hydro and nuclear power. wind is blowing; natural gas plants manage fluctuation We’ve dissected consumers’ individuin demand; and coal plants schedule maintenance for Hydro (136) al responsibility and “pocketbook respring and fall when demand is down. This graph Natural Gas (153) alities” with different energy sources. shows how many days each generation type typiMost important, we’ve tried to cally operates over Biomass (263) answer the question of which fuels the course of a year Georgia can rely on most for energy in the U.S. Coal (270) production in terms of scale, reliability and cost. Geothermal (274) The February issue focused on Nuclear (336) solar energy. Solar water heaters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 save real money. But large-scale so365 In months 0 lar applications remain expensive by Equivalent Days of Operation per Year comparison and require convention- gia high schools for students to learn poised to become a worldwide leader al generation backup because solar about the technology. in development of new nuclear enerIn May, we focused on hydro- gy. Near Waynesboro, at Plant Vogtle, power is intermittent by nature. As the solar industry innovates, costs will electricity. With 28 hydropower plants units 3 and 4, under construction, are decrease, and larger-scale solar power already in Georgia, most believe our among the first new nuclear plants large-scale resources for hydropower constructed in almost three decades. will likely become more feasible. In March, we looked at Georgia’s are already tapped. Nuclear power is emission-free, afJuly and August covered efficien- fordable and reliable. potential for energy from biomass such as trees, grasses and agricultural cy, demand-side management and In closing, this nine-part Realresidues. Georgia is blessed with an conservation. Readers learned how ity Check series has illustrated that abundant timber inventory, and our to make their homes more efficient, Georgia’s EMCs have an “all-of-theresearch institutions and workforce starting with heating, cooling and above” strategy for developing energy make it ideal for a thriving biomass water-heating systems, which make resources. (For a map of industry. Biomass could become up 68 percent of a typical family’s resources, see our ona major economic driver for Geor- energy bill. We also addressed large- line edition, page 38C.) gia, but proposed Environmental scale conservation and electric mem- If Georgia energy is to re- web exclusive Protection Agency regulations have bership cooperatives’ success using main reliable and affordable, we must put electric co-ops’ and others’ plans techniques such as radio-controlled continue to depend on the fuel sourcto further develop biomass on indefi- switches to reduce peak demand. es that meet our member-owners’ Even though electric co-ops have ag- needs while innovating and updatnite hold. In April, we reviewed wind pow- gressive conservation programs, 2010 ing our energy portfolio every step of er in Georgia. Onshore wind in the total energy savings amounted to .5 the way. Southeast is simply too unreliable percent of co-op consumers’ total Just as generations of Georgians for large-scale generation. Coastal consumption. EMCs remain bullish on have worked to sustain and protect Georgia’s offshore wind may have po- conservation in the future, but finding our beautiful state, EMCs will contintential someday, but costs run 50 per- effective ways to change consumer ue to apply a culture of stewardship cent more than on land. Despite the behavior is a challenge. to the energy sources that provide In September, we learned about power to our homes, businesses and dim prospects of large wind projects here, Green Power EMC is installing the major role of nuclear power in communities. a wind turbine at two North Geor- Georgia’s energy portfolio. Georgia is ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE / WWW.EPRI.COM Reality check: web exc October 2011 More online at 17 http://WWW.EPRI.COM

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

Georgia Magazine - October 2011
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Georgia's Energy Outlook
Naturally Florida
Florida Destinations
2011 Reader's Choice Awards
Other Top Picks in Our Readers’ Choice Contest
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
Georgia Cooks
More Snapshot Submissions
Gardens Plant of the Month; Liberty Notes
More on Georgia’s Energy Outlook
Energy-Efficiency Tips
More Great Recipes

Georgia Magazine - October 2011