Publication Details

Title: The State of Electric Power in the South
Format: Working Paper
Publication Date: 2014

The electric system in the South faces an array of challenges, which prompted the Georgia Institute of Technology to initiate a study of “The Future of Electric Power in the South.” Authored by six Georgia Tech faculty, and informed by a group of stakeholders in the region, this white paper is the first product of the initiative, providing a fact-based description of the current state of electric power in the South. Despite the diversity within the region, a number of features distinguish its power systems from those in the rest of the nation. First, the South has a distinct electricity generation profile. Coal has historically dominated, but in recent years the South has seen a dramatic increase in the fraction of electricity generated by natural gas. The South is also home to all of the nation’s current US nuclear reactor construction projects. The Southern states have little renewable generation other than the long-standing hydropower in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina and the significant and more recent wind development in Texas and Oklahoma. The South has a significant opportunity to expand its energy efficiency performance by strengthening its policies. Finally, evidence suggests that the grid in the South is getting smarter, but it is challenged by the need to accommodate distributed renewable generation, increasing demands of a digital society, growing threats to infrastructure security, and concerns over environmental quality and global climate disruption. The region can take pride in the fact that it has never been exposed to the sort of disruptions and blackouts that other parts of the national system have experienced in the past. By acting cautiously in the presence of many challenges, local utilities may have extended the time line of the clean energy transition, but they are also now able to move forward from a strong position.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
External Contributors: Valerie, Thomas, Miroslav Begovic, John Crittenden, Samuel Graham, Erik Johnson

The State of Electric Power in the South

  • Clean Energy
  • Energy Efficiency
Related File: FEPS_White Paper_092314_0.pdf
Related Departments:
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
  • School of Public Policy