Tracking Energy Policy in Georgia: Results of the 2023 IRP Update

On Tuesday, April 16, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted on Georgia Power’s 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Update, approving much of what the utility requested in this off-cycle proceeding. Many observers may be wondering why this proceeding was needed, what was involved, and what it means going forward. Read on if you share any of these questions.

Background on the 2023 IRP Update

Georgia law requires that Georgia Power, the state’s only investor-owned electric utility, file a long-term IRP every three years. The utility must estimate demand for energy in its service territory for the next 20 years and then describe how it plans to meet its forecasted load reliably and cost-effectively. In January 2022, the utility filed its tenth IRP, which was approved by the PSC in July 2022.

>>Learn more about the 2022 IRP and how the IRP process works.

In late October 2023, Georgia Power filed a 2023 IRP Update. This surprised many. By law, the next IRP is not due until January 2025. So, what happened? Georgia Power initiated this IRP update because it says the state has experienced unprecedented economic growth and the utility, in turn, faces unprecedented electrical load growth. Most of the anticipated load growth stems from the proliferation of new data centers in Georgia, but is also driven by several large industrial developments.


Georgia Power emphasized that it must act on an expedited basis to secure more capacity than expected and to acquire it sooner than anticipated to keep pace with demand. To underscore the changes, Georgia Power highlighted that economic development in the state has driven a 17-fold increase in electricity load growth through 2031, compared to what the utility forecasted just 18 months earlier in the 2022 IRP. As a result, Georgia Power argued that it must acquire new resources starting in the winter of 2025-2026, three years earlier than projected in 2022 IRP.

The prospect of rate impacts cast a long shadow over these deliberations. In the 2022 – 2025 period, Georgia Power has – or will – raise customer’s rates six times to cover cost increases associated with Plant Vogtle, power plant fuel, transmission, and coal ash cleanup. The issue of customer costs remained at the center of the 2023 IRP Update discussions. 

Overview of the IRP Process

The 2023 IRP Update review process followed the normal IRP review process – a full, six-month proceeding with discovery, pre-filed testimony, three rounds of hearings before the PSC, and final briefs. The proceeding attracted a lot of attention – 17 parties intervened, on par with the 2022 IRP. The PSC staff and the intervenors filed 20 sets of expert witness testimony. The proceeding got underway with Georgia Power’s October 2023 filing and wrapped up with the PSC’s April 16 decision. 

What Did Georgia Power Request?

While a typical IRP docket touches on a broad range of planning and resource issues, Georgia Power’s 2023 IRP Update focused largely on acquiring capacity resources needed to meet winter peak demand and the transmission resources needed to deliver this power to customers. Speed was of paramount concern to the utility. Many of Georgia Power’s resource acquisition requests were made under exceptions to PSC rules that would typically require the utility to competitively bid on their resource needs. Specifically, the utility requested to:

  1. Purchase 750 MW of capacity & energy from Mississippi Power through Dec 2028

  2. Purchase 230 MW of capacity & energy from Santa Rosa Energy through Dec 2028

  3. Develop, own, and operate 1,000 MW of battery energy storage (BESS)

  4. Develop, own, and operate 1,400 MW of combustion turbine (CT) resources at Plant Yates (Yates units 8-10)

  5. Develop and deploy two new distributed energy resource (DER) programs: the DER Colocation Program and the DER Customer Owned Program

  6. Develop and deploy a new Curtailable Load Program

  7. Expand the utility’s Residential Thermostat Program by doubling the participation cap

  8. Use “Flex Capacity” authorization to pursue additional capacity resources prior to the 2025 IRP

  9. Invest in the transmission upgrades necessary to accommodate the proposed resources

What was approved?

In late March 2024, on the eve of the third round of the PSC hearing, Georgia Power and the PSC Advocacy Staff signed a stipulated agreement. As is often the case in PSC proceedings, the stipulated agreement largely defined the scope of the Commission’s final decision in the case. On April 16, the PSC approved the Advisory staff’s recommendation endorsing the stipulated agreement, thereby approving the bulk of Georgia Power’s requests. Table 1 summarizes the decision related to Georgia Power’s requests. 

Table 1. Summary of PSC Decisions on Georgia Power’s 2023 IRP Update Requests

Request PSC Decision
1. Purchase 750 MW of capacity & energy from  Mississippi Power through Dec 2028 Approved, but modified or denied specific associated accounting requests
2. Purchase 230 MW of capacity & energy from Santa Rosa Energy through Dec 2028 Approved, but modified or denied specific associated accounting requests
3. Develop, own, and operate 1,000 MW of BESS Approved 500 MW as self-owned and approved competitive procurement of 500 MW
4. Develop, own, and operate 1,400 MW of CTs at Plant Yates (Yates units 8-10) Approved (with cost cap)
5. Develop and deploy two new DER programs Approved with modifications
6. Develop and deploy new Curtailable Load Program Approved
7. Expand Residential Thermostat Program Approved
8. Use Flex Capacity authorization Denied
9. Invest in transmission upgrades Approved


In addition, the final order requires several additional provisions promoted by Staff and intervenors, including:

  1. Assurance from Georgia Power that additional revenue from new large load customers will put downward pressure on the typical residential bill in the amount of at least $2.89 per month for 2026-2028

  2. Quarterly reporting by Georgia Power to the PSC on large load customer developments

  3. Additional detail in future cost of service studies concerning 2023 IRP Update revenues and costs

  4. Development of a residential and small commercial solar and battery pilot program (often called virtual power plant program) to be submitted for approval in 2025 IRP

  5. Discussions between Georgia Power and the Clean Energy Buyers Association concerning the development of a carbon-free energy customer program

What’s Next for Georgia Energy Policy

Georgia Power will now move forward with resource development, including the construction of new generating units at Plant Yates and new BESS units across its system. The utility will issue solicitations for additional battery resources, in parallel with an all-source solicitation approved in the 2022 IRP. Additionally, the utility will deploy two new distributed energy resource programs and expand its demand response capabilities. All this activity will be underway as the utility prepares to file its 2025 IRP in just eight months. 

If you are interested in learning more about the PSC and the upcoming 2025 IRP, you might visit Grist’s guide to electricity and energy policy in Georgia. Ahead of the 2022 IRP, nonprofit partners Southface and Partnership for Southern Equity sponsored IRP educational training. Other partners offer additional educational content. We will update you here as these types of resources become available ahead of the 2025 IRP. 

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About Author

Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is an energy policy expert and a partner with Kirkwood & Kelly Consulting

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