ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Power is looking at ways to reduce its reliance on coal for producing electricity, and hints about its plans could be released this week.
The utility, a division of the Atlanta-based Southern Co., is set to release a 20-year energy plan on Thursday. That report is expected to lay out a blueprint for power production for a generation.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/Wuyp5R) reported that 70 percent of Georgia Power's fuel came from coal five years ago, but that number is now down to 47 percent.
The change comes as Southern Co. and other utilities are being pushed by environmental rules to rely less on coal.
Georgia Power recently announced it will close 15 coal and oil-fired units, removing 20 percent of electrical capacity from its power grid.
Executives with the utility have shied away from saying how they would replace the electrical capacity if coal and oil units are shuttered. Georgia Power has won approval to buy electricity produced by natural gas from its sister company Southern Power, which could be a sign of what's ahead.
"We are in the midst of a significant transition in our fleet that will result in a more diverse fuel portfolio — including nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency," said Paul Bowers, Georgia Power's president and chief executive officer.
It is unclear whether more nuclear reactors will be built even though executives have said they would like to. Federal regulators are not approving any new projects while trying to figure out long-term storage plans for used nuclear fuel.