Southern Co. expands solar power portfolio

Since 2010, Southern has announced acquisition of nearly a dozen “renewable” energy projects - some in Georgia - to help expand the company’s portfolio beyond traditional coal, oil and nuclear power generation. (AJC file photo)
Caption
Since 2010, Southern has announced acquisition of nearly a dozen “renewable” energy projects - some in Georgia - to help expand the company’s portfolio beyond traditional coal, oil and nuclear power generation. (AJC file photo)

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC


Southern’s solar deals

Following is a recap of some of the solar acquisitions by Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy since 2010, when their partnership began. The timeline also includes other deals:

March 2010: Cimarron Solar Facility, a 30-megawatt plant in Colfax County, N.M., adjacent to Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch.

June 2012: Apex Solar Facility, a 20-megawatt plant in North Las Vegas, Nev.

September 2012: Spectrum Solar Facility, a 30-megawatt facility in Clark County, Nev.

October 2012: Granville Solar Facility, a 2.5 megawatt solar facility on 40 acres in Granville County, N.C.

April 2013: Campo Verde Solar Facility, a 139-megawatt facility in Imperial County, Calif.

April 2014: Adobe Solar Facility, a 20-megawatt facility in Kern County, Calif.

May 2014: Macho Springs Solar Facility, a 50-megawatt facility in Luna County, N.M.

October 2014: Solar Gen 2, a 150-megawatt facility in Imperial County, Calif.

December 2014: Plans announced to build a 131-megawatt solar plant in Taylor County, Georgia.

February 2015: Two solar projects acquired in Decatur County, Georgia, totaling 99 megawatts – Decatur Parkway Solar Project and Decatur County Solar Project.

April 2015: Southern acquires a controlling interest in the 32-megawatt Lost Hills-Blackwell solar facilities in Kerry County, Calif. Georgia Power and the U.S. Army also break ground on a 30-megawatt solar installation at Fort Benning near Columbus, and Pensacola Fla.-based Gulf Power. received Florida Public Service Commission approval to provide a combined 120 megawatts of solar generated electricity to Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach (30 megawatts), and Navy facilities Holley Field in Navarre (40 megawatts) and Saufley Field in Pensacola (50 megawatts).

Source: Southern Co.

Atlanta-based Southern Co. continues to expand its solar power holdings, announcing it has acquired a controlling stake in an additional solar project in California and has deals to provide solar-generated power to U.S. military bases.

The company’s Southern Power subsidiary said it has acquired controllling in the 20-megawatt Lost Hills Solar Facility and the 12-megawatt Blackwell Solar Facility in Kerry County, Calif., from Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc. Solar builds and maintains solar power plants. The two facilities will be able to deliver power to more than 11,000 homes.

Southern didn’t say how much it agreed to pay.

Southern also announced Atlanta-based Georgia Power and the U.S. Army broke ground on a 30-MW solar installation at Fort Benning near Columbus. Pensacola Fla.-based Gulf Power. received Florida Public Service Commission approval to provide a combined 120 megawatts of solar generated electricity to Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, and Navy facilities Holley Field in Navarre and Saufley Field in Pensacola.

In a statement, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fanning said the deals demonstrate Southern’s “ commitment to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable power.”

Southern and its subsidiaries,are regularly under fire by environmentalists and regulators over pollution from coal-fired power plants. Georgia Power has said it will close coal- and oil-powered plants across the state as part of a larger effort to meet current and future Georgia Environmental Protection Division pollution regulations.

Renewable sources of power generation, such as solar and wind, still account for a small share of Southern’s energy sales. The company last year ranked 31st among 32 utilities nationally in percentage of sales tied to electricity from renewables, according to Ceres, a non-profit active on issues such as climate change.

Since 2010, Southern has announced acquisition of nearly a dozen “renewable” energy projects - some in Georgia - to help expand the company’s portfolio beyond traditional coal, oil and nuclear power generation. In addition to natural gas, the company has expanded investment into solar, biomass and wind.

Seven of the solar acquisitions have been made in partnership with billionaire Ted Turner’s Turner Renewable Energy venture. Southern also has partnered with First Solar, which has built or is building most of the solar projects and will maintain them for Southern.

Southern recently announced it is acquiring the 299-megawatt Kay Wind facility in Oklahoma from Apex Clean Energy. The wind plant in Kay County, Okla., will be able to supply electricity to about 100,000 homes.

Southern also recently announced plans to open an Energy Innovation Center at Georgia Tech’s Technology Square in Midtown to develop ideas for electricity use.