How solar energy works: The simplified version
During the 2019 Legislative session, I was proud to sponsor Senate Bill 95, a measure to allow the Electric Cities of Georgia, a nonprofit group of 52 public power providers, to meet the renewable energy requirements of many companies seeking to do business in Georgia. The bill also gives our cities more options to diversify their energy resources and reduce costs. Some may not know this, but Georgia is one of the fastest growing renewable energy states in America.
The bill, which has been signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, increases the maximum contract term between Electric Cities and their retail utility customers from 10 years to 20 years for solar and wind energy. This is a crucial change for cities in the River Valley Region. Economic development is key to the survival our communities. Many of the Fortune 500 companies that we already have, and are looking to attract, have requirements for renewable energy in order for them to do business. SB 95 allows us to attract more jobs and offer more energy choices for our citizens.
Solar farms and other types of renewable energy have become a major economic driver all over Georgia. The U.S. Department of Labor just released a report saying that solar and wind installers are the two fastest growing occupations in America. Georgia has one of the largest renewable energy profiles in the country and boasts over 43,000 clean energy jobs. In 2017, we added over 4,000 jobs with more to come.
Much of the renewable energy economy in our region has been spearheaded by Ray Anderson and his legacy. Anderson founded Interface in Lagrange in 1973. He would revolutionize carpet manufacturing with industrial sustainability programs that made the process more environmentally sound. His legacy can now be seen by driving down Interstate 85 towards Alabama on The Ray. The Ray is an 18-mile stretch of renewable energy highway that I am proud to say is in my district. Legislation such as SB 95 can help foster more projects like The Ray, and continue to grow the renewable energy economy in Georgia.
Georgia has become a national leader in renewable energy through outstanding leadership. The Georgia Public Service Commission has done an excellent job of making sure Georgia has the right environment to attract jobs, diversify our energy portfolio, and drive down prices.
I plan to continue to be a partner in this great endeavor for our region and state by offering legislation such as SB 95 at the state Capitol. We can accomplish a great deal for our citizens by supporting initiatives for renewable energy not only for our economy, but to preserve our quality of life through cleaner air and water. That is what I call a win-win for the River Valley Region, and the great state of Georgia.