LAWRENCEVILLE -- With two new nuclear energy facilities, a solar initiative and even research into wind capacity, Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers said on Tuesday that his company is looking for additional ways to meet the energy needs of the state.
In a tour of Gwinnett, Bowers spoke to the Gwinnett Rotary Club, members of the Gwinnett delegation to the General Assembly, the Board of Education and the Daily Post to have a dialogue with leaders in a county he called "well-positioned for growth over the long term."
Bowers said Georgia Power is "very, very bullish" about the prospects of solar, and is looking into wind development.
"As the price declines it becomes much more of an option for our customers, so we want to be out there offering that option," said Bowers, who added that wind development depends on Midwest developers.
Late last month, Georgia Power made a proposal to triple its use of solar electricity, to move from offering it to 7,600 homes, to potentially 20,000 homes. The initiative must be approved by the Public Service Commission.
Bowers said his company is offering two avenues for customers: home and utilities.
Georgia Power wants to offer 70 megawatts per year for the next three years, which would make it the largest non-mandated voluntary purchase of solar energy by an investor-owned utility in the U.S., Bowers said.
Bowers also said Georgia Power is making progress of two nuclear energy facilities at Plant Vogtle, in the southeast part of the state near Waynesboro, which are expected to go into service in 2016 and 2017.
"Nuclear will continue to be a key element in our balanced fuel mix," Bowers told the Rotary Club. "It is a proven and innovative technology, with more than 50 years of safe and reliable operation in the United States."
Bowers said the nuclear facilities would create 5,000 on-site jobs and 800 high-paying permanent positions.
At the Rotary Club, Bowers said the country needs to work toward a responsible tax policy and a reasonable regulatory environment that doesn't harm the economy.
"We must rein in overreaching regulations and ensure the benefits outweigh the costs," he said. "While they may be well-intentioned, too-burdensome regulations represent a significant indirect tax on our economy."