As more and more corporations begin to demand that their operations be supplied with renewable energy, utilities across the United States are adapting by creating “green tariff” programs. These programs enable corporations to procure electricity from wind and solar projects through long-term agreements, while allowing the utilities to keep skin in the game.
As the latest in this trend, yesterday Georgia Power announced that its 30-year contracts to buy power from two large solar projects totaling 177 MW have been approved by state regulators, as a key step in the rollout of its commercial and industrial (C&I) program through its Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI).
REDI so far has been focused on utility scale projects, but through the C&I portion of the program Georgia Power is offering a green tariff. The company will be providing the electricity from the first 177 MW of projects to some of the same companies that have been among the top corporate adopters of solar – Google, Target, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson.
These four companies are subscribed to the program for terms of at least 10 years, with Google alone subscribing for 78.8 MW to supply its data center in Douglas County, Georgia. Google estimates that in 2017 it purchased enough electricity from renewable energy sources to match global usage for both its data centers and offices.
The two plants which will supply this program are a 120 MW solar project which NextEra will build in Albany, Georgia, and a 57.5 MW project which Origis Energy will build in Camilla, Georgia. NextEra’s Dougherty Solar Facility is scheduled to be online by the end of 2019, and Origis’ Tanglewood Solar by the end of June 2020.
These two plants will add to the 970 MW of solar capacity which the company currently has online. Georgia Power expects to add up to 1.6 GW of additionally renewable energy capacity by 2021.
Correction: This article was corrected at 8:15 AM EST on April 11. The previous version listed Apple as one of the off-takers, when in fact the fourth off-taker was Target. The text has been corrected to reflect this.