The Union Recorder

Local News

April 1, 2013

Community solar bill offers different business model

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Another aspect of the rural solar bill, according to GaSU, is assisting communities hurt by Georgia Power plant closures. 

GaSU pushed for a solar farm adjacent to Plant Harlee Branch last year, but fell short. The proposal included an 80-megawatt project on 2,200 acres adjacent to Georgia Power's coal-fired Plant Branch facility. 

Putting assets back into these areas offers an interesting dynamic to the tax base.

“That property remains valuable,” he said. “You don't want to turn that place into a coal ash pond.” 

While the bill has bipartisan support, Green and Kidd agree it needs perfecting through committee over the next year. Exactly how the actions work within Georgia Power's system are still up in the air.

Kraft said there are a lot of issues yet to be addressed within HB 657 and upcoming use of plant closure sights.

“Plant Branch is still in operation at this time and despite our request to retire the remaining units, we have not made determinations on the future use of the site,” Kraft said.

Green believes the state's main utility provider doesn't want a part of the bill, though depending on the 2014 state legislative session, it may have no choice.

“Georgia Power does not want to hear this. I think we've got something strong here, and as long as we can keep people from derailing it, this is going to be a big boon for the state over time,” Green said.

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