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Georgia   Georgia Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: August 17, 2017

Overview

Georgia is located at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has the largest land area of any state east of the Mississippi River.1 Despite its location near Appalachian coalfields and oil and natural gas basins, Georgia does not have any appreciable fossil fuel resources.2,3 However, the state does have renewable energy potential. With two-thirds of the state forested, there is abundant biomass potential.4,5 The state's elevations decrease from almost 5,000 feet in the mountains to sea level along its Atlantic Coast, crossing the rolling hills of the Piedmont region and flattening out on Georgia's broad coastal plains.6 Onshore wind resources offer minimal wind energy potential across the southern half of the state, but the Blue Ridge Mountains in the north have moderate potential.7 And, although Georgia has only about 100 miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline, its offshore waters have large areas with moderate wind resources in shallow depths close to both land and transmission grid access.8,9 Georgia's coastal plain occupies the southern half of the state and is the location of most of Georgia's natural lakes.10 The state's larger, man-made lakes and reservoirs are concentrated in the river valleys of the north.11 Many of the larger reservoirs provide hydroelectric power, and some additional hydroelectric potential exists in the state.12,13 However, only slightly more than two-fifths of the total energy produced in Georgia comes from renewable resources; the rest comes from nuclear power.14

Georgia is the nation's eighth most populous state, and its share of the nation's total energy consumption is nearly the same as its share of the nation's population. Transportation is the leading energy-consuming end-use sector, and the industrial sector is second.15,16 Georgia has several energy-intensive industries, including the manufacture of food, beverages, and tobacco products; chemicals; plastics; wood and paper products; machinery; and fabricated metal products.17 The residential sector consumes almost as much energy as the industrial sector. Despite a warm and humid climate, energy consumption per capita in Georgia is below the national median.18,19

Petroleum

Georgia does not have any known petroleum reserves or crude oil production.20 No crude oil pipelines cross the state, but two petroleum product pipelines serve Georgia.21 The Port of Savannah receives petroleum product imports from around the world.22 The state's last crude oil refinery, which produced asphalt, was idled in 2012 and shut permanently at the end of 2014, but the refinery site continues in use as a petroleum products terminal facility.23,24,25

Petroleum accounts for the largest share of energy consumed in Georgia, and the state is among the 10 leading petroleum-consuming states in the nation.26,27 The transportation sector accounts for nine-tenths of the petroleum used in the state; most of it is consumed as motor gasoline. Much of the rest is consumed as distillate fuel oil, which is also used by the transportation sector.28 To minimize formation of ozone, motor gasoline sold during the summer months in 12 counties in northwestern Georgia, around the metropolitan Atlanta area, must have a lower volatility than motor gasoline sold in the rest of the state.29 The industrial sector accounts for most of the remaining petroleum consumption in Georgia. Only a small amount of petroleum is used by the residential sector, where fewer than 0.2% of residential customers use fuel oil for heating during the mild winters. About 5% of households depend on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for home heating.30,31

Natural gas

Georgia’s Elba Island LNG import terminal is adding LNG export capability.

Georgia does not have any natural gas reserves or production.32 The state receives all of its natural gas supply from other states by pipeline and from other countries through the Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.33,34 LNG imports have arrived from a variety of countries in the past few years, including Trinidad and Tobago, Qatar, and Egypt.35,36 Import volumes have decreased since 2012.37 Elba Island liquefaction and terminal facilities that will enable the export of LNG are under construction and are expected to be in operation by the end of 2018.38,39 Almost half of the natural gas received in Georgia is consumed in the state. The rest of the natural gas entering Georgia moves on to other states, primarily through South Carolina.40

The electric power-generating sector consumes the largest share of natural gas in Georgia. Deliveries to that sector have more than doubled since 2010, while consumption in the other end-use sectors has remained relatively stable.41,42 About two-fifths of Georgia households use natural gas for home heating, but the winters are mild, and per capita natural gas use by Georgia's residential sector is below the national average.43,44,45,46

Coal

Georgia has only minor estimated recoverable coal reserves and no coal production.47,48 Coal used in the state arrives by rail, primarily from Wyoming, Illinois, and Kentucky. Almost all of the coal is delivered to the electric power sector.49 Georgia's Savannah Customs District handles some coal exports and imports.50,51

Electricity

Two new nuclear reactors under construction at an existing plant in Georgia are the first to be approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 30 years.

Coal-fired power plants historically fueled more than three-fifths of net electricity generation in Georgia. However, since 2009, as natural gas became more economical and as coal-fired power plants were retired, natural gas has accounted for an increasing share of the state's net electricity generation. In 2012, for the first time, natural gas was the largest source of generation in Georgia. By 2016, natural gas supplied two-fifths of Georgia's net electricity generation. Coal supplied less than three-tenths.52,53,54 Georgia's two nuclear power plants, both located in the eastern part of the state, typically provide one-fourth of the state's net electricity generation.55,56,57 In recent years, the four reactors at those two plants have received physical modifications to increase generating capacity.58,59 Two new reactors, being built at the existing Vogtle nuclear plant in Waynesboro, Georgia, are the first new reactors approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 30 years.60,61,62 The state's remaining net electricity generation is provided primarily by biomass and hydroelectric power. A small but increasing amount of electricity is provided by solar photovoltaic (PV) generation.63

More than two-fifths of the electricity sales in Georgia are to the residential sector, where more than half of the households use electricity for heating.64,65 With the state's hot, humid summers, almost all Georgia households have air conditioning.66

Renewable energy

Georgia is a leader in electricity generation from wood and wood waste.

More than half of Georgia's utility-scale net renewable electricity generation comes from biomass.67 In 2015, the state led the nation in the use of wood and wood-derived fuels for electricity generation, and, in 2016, it was second in the nation, after California, in the amount of generation from all biomass resources.68,69 Ranked first in the nation in commercial timberland, Georgia's almost 25 million acres of forest cover two-thirds of the state.70 There are nine wood pellet plants in Georgia, including the world's largest, and at least three more are either under construction or planned. Georgia leads the nation in wood pellet exports, accounting for more than one-third of the U.S. total. Most of the wood pellets are sent to Europe, where nearly all of them are used for electricity generation.71,72 Georgia also has two biodiesel plants and two ethanol plants; the state can produce up to 20 million gallons of biodiesel and more than 120 million gallons of ethanol each year.73,74

Nearly all the rest of Georgia's net renewable generation comes from hydroelectricity. The state is one of the 10 largest hydroelectric power producers east of the Rocky Mountains.75 Georgia has 14 river basins and thousands of dams, some of which provide hydroelectric power.76,77 The Chattahoochee River, the most heavily used water resource in the state, has 16 power-generating plants.78 In total, there are 30 conventional hydroelectric power plants in Georgia and 4 hydroelectric pumped storage facilities.79

Georgia has both utility-scale and distributed (small-scale, customer-sited) solar PV capacity. In 2016, 1,067 megawatts of utility-scale and distributed solar PV capacity were installed statewide, raising the state's total capacity to more than 1,477 megawatts. By the end of 2016, Georgia was ranked eighth in the nation in solar installations, and net electricity generation from solar PV experienced a more than fourfold increase during that year.80,81 Offshore wind resources off Georgia's Atlantic coast could provide electricity generation opportunities in the future.82 There are no wind projects online in Georgia, but several manufacturers located in the state make products for the wind industry.83

Georgia does not have a renewable energy portfolio standard or a voluntary renewable energy target.84,85 The state does have energy standards for public buildings, interconnection guidelines, and solar easement regulations.86 Georgia is one of four states that have statewide distributed generation compensation rules rather than net metering.87

Endnotes

1 U.S. Census Bureau, Geography, State Area Measurements and Internal Point Coordinates, accessed July 23, 2017.
2 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Georgia, Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed July 23, 2017.
3 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2015 (November 2016), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2015.
4 Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Forest Facts, accessed July 23, 2017.
5 Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Energy Industry Overview (February 22, 2011), p. 2.
6 NETSTATE, Georgia, The Geography of Georgia, updated February 25, 2016.
7 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Georgia Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity, updated September 24, 2015.
8 Beaver, Janice Cheryl, U.S. International Borders: Brief Facts, Congressional Research Service (November 9, 2006), p. CRS-3.
9 Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Energy Industry Overview (February 22, 2011), p. 8.
10 NETSTATE, Georgia, The Geography of Georgia, updated February 25, 2016.
11 Parker, Amanda K., New Georgia Encyclopedia, Geography & Environment, Conservation & Management, Reservoirs, updated June 8, 2017.
12 Georgia Power, Generating Plants, accessed July 23, 2017.
13 Kao, Shih-Chieh, et al., New Stream-reach Development: A Comprehensive Assessment of Hydropower Energy Potential in the United States, U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (April 2014), p. 16.
14 U.S. EIA, State Energy Production Estimates 1960 Through 2015, Table P2, Energy Production Estimates in Trillion Btu, 2015.
15 U.S. Census Bureau, National Population Totals Tables: 2010-2016, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (NST-EST2016-01).
16 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
17 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Data, GDP & Personal Income, Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State, GDP in Current Dollars, All Industries, Georgia, 2015.
18 Knox, Pam, "Georgia's Climate Is Peachy!" CoCoRaHS, State Climate Series, accessed July 23, 2017.
19 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Table C13, Energy Consumption Estimates per Capita by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
20 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed July 23, 2017.
21 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Data, Distribution and Marketing, accessed July 23, 2017.
22 U.S. EIA, Petroleum and Other Liquids, Company Level Imports (April 2017).
23 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Georgia, Annual (as of January 1), 2012-17.
24 U.S. EIA, Refinery Capacity 2017, Table 13, Refineries Permanently Shutdown By PAD District Between January 1, 1990 and January 1, 2017.
25 Business Wire, "Axeon Specialty Products Launches on East Coast" (February 27, 2014).
26 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2015.
27 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Table C11, Energy Consumption Estimates by Source, Ranked by State, 2015.
28 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Tables C4, C8.
29 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gasoline Standards, Gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure, updated June 24, 2017.
30 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 Through 2015, DOE/EIA-0214(2015) (June 2017), Tables C5, C6, C7, C8.
31 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Georgia, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
32 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed July 24, 2017.
33 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Data, Distribution and Marketing, accessed July 24, 2017.
34 U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American LNG Import/Export Terminals, Approved, updated May 1, 2017.
35 Hydrocarbons-technology.com, Elba Island LNG Terminal, United States of America, accessed July 24, 2017.
36 U.S. EIA, U.S. Natural Gas Imports by Point of Entry, Liquefied Natural Gas Volumes, Annual, 2011-16.
37 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Georgia, Annual, 2010-15.
38 U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American LNG Import/Export Terminals, Approved, updated May 1, 2017.
39 "KMI Gets FERC Approval for Elba Island LNG Plant," Oil & Gas Journal (June 3, 2016).
40 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Georgia, Annual, 2010-15.
41 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Georgia, Annual, 2011-16.
42 U.S. EIA, Georgia Natural Gas Deliveries to Electric Power Consumers, Annual, 1997-2016.
43 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Georgia, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
44 NETSTATE, Georgia, The Geography of Georgia, Climate, updated February 25, 2016.
45 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Volumes Delivered to Residential, Annual, 2011-16.
46 U.S. Census Bureau, National Population Totals Tables: 2010-2016, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (NST-EST2016-01).
47 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed July 25, 2017.
48 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2015 (November 2016), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2015.
49 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2015 (November 2016), Georgia, Table DS-10, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2015.
50 U.S. EIA, Quarterly Coal Report, October-December 2016 (April 2017), Table 13, Coal Exports by Customs District.
51 U.S. EIA, Quarterly Coal Report, October-December 2016 (April 2017), Table 20, Coal Imports by Customs District.
52 U.S. EIA, Georgia Electricity Profile 2015, Table 5, Electric power industry generation by primary energy source, 1990 through 2015.
53 U.S. EIA, Electricity, Form EIA-860 detailed data, 2015 Form EIA-860 Data-Schedule 3, 'Generator Data' (Retired & Canceled Units Only).
54 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.4.B, 1.7.B.
55 U.S. EIA, Georgia, Profile Overview, Nuclear Power Plant Map Layer, accessed July 27, 2017.
56 U.S. EIA, Georgia Electricity Profile 2015, Table 5, Electric power industry generation by primary energy source, 1990 through 2015.
57 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.9.B.
58 U.S. EIA, Georgia Nuclear Profile 2010, accessed July 27, 2017.
59 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Backgrounder on Power Uprates for Nuclear Plants, updated April 8, 2016.
60 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Unit 3 (Under Construction), updated June 29, 2017.
61 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Unit 4 (Under Construction), updated June 29, 2017.
62 U.S. EIA, "Nuclear Regulatory Commission Approves Construction of First Nuclear Units in 30 Years," Today in Energy (March 5, 2012).
63 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.15.B, 1.17.B.
64 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 5.4.B.
65 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Georgia, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
66 U.S. EIA, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), Table HC7.8, Air conditioning in homes in the South and West regions, 2015.
67 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.15.B, 1.17.B.
68 U.S. EIA, Electricity, Generation and thermal output, State-level generation and fuel consumption data, Annual (back to 1990) State Historical Tables for 2015, revised November 2016.
69 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 1.15.B.
70 Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Forest Facts, accessed July 27, 2017.
71 Biomass Magazine, U.S. Pellet Plants, Operational, Proposed, Under Construction, updated May 17, 2017.
72 Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia's Forests in a Regional, National and Global Context, accessed July 27, 2017.
73 Ethanol Producer Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, All Platforms, Operational, updated July 11, 2017.
74 Biodiesel Magazine, U.S. Biodiesel Plants, operational, updated May 11, 2017.
75 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.15.B.
76 Meyer, Judith L., and Gretchen Loeffler, "River Basins," New Georgia Encyclopedia, Geography & Environment (August 28, 2009).
77 Parker, Amanda K., "Reservoirs," New Georgia Encyclopedia, Geography & Environment (May 25, 2004).
78 Georgia River Network, Chattahoochee River, accessed July 27, 2017.
79 U.S. EIA, Electricity, Form EIA-860 detailed data, 2015 Form EIA-860 Data-Schedule 3, 'Generator Data' (Operable Units Only).
80 Solar Energy Industries Association, Georgia Solar, accessed July 28, 2017.
81 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 1.17.B.
82 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Georgia Offshore 90-Meter Wind Map and Wind Resource Potential, accessed July 27, 2017.
83 American Wind Energy Association, Georgia Wind Energy, accessed July 27, 2017.
84 U.S. EIA, Renewable Energy Explained, Portfolio Standards, accessed July 27, 2017.
85 Ballotpedia, Energy policy in Georgia, accessed July 27, 2017.
86 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Georgia, Regulatory Policy, accessed July 28, 2017.
87 National Conference of State Legislatures, State Net Metering Policies (November 3, 2016).