|Select Economic and Energy Data†||Value||State Rank|
|Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita||$34,017||21st lowest|
|Gasoline Price, per gallon||$2.70||10th lowest|
|Electricity Price, per kWh||8.76¢||25th lowest|
Georgia has below average electricity prices. More than 50 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from coal and the state’s two nuclear power plants provide about a quarter of Georgia’s electricity. Georgia is considered to have substantial hydroelectric potential and is one of the top hydroelectric power producers east of the Rocky Mountains, but hydroelectric provides a minimal portion of the state’s electricity.
Georgia has no fossil fuel resources, so the state imports the coal and natural gas that together provide about 70 percent of the state’s electricity. Georgia imports coal from Wyoming, Kentucky, and Virginia, and receives natural gas through interstate pipelines and its liquefied natural gas terminal at Elba Island.
Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy
Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.
Below are some facts about Georgia’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy. Fortunately for the citizens of Georgia, the state has not implemented many regulations.
- Georgia does not cap greenhouse gas emissions.
- Georgia is not a member of a regional agreement to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
- Georgia does not require utilities to sell a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources.
- Georgia does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels.
- Georgia does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
- Georgia requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. The state imposes the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with state-specific supplements and amendments.[i] The IECC, developed by the International Code Council, is a model code that mandates certain energy efficiency standards.
- Georgia does not impose state-based appliance efficiency standards.
- Georgia does not allow utilities to “decouple” revenue from the sale of electricity and natural gas. Some states decouple revenue from actual sales, allowing utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.
† Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_ state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity, (March 15, 2010), http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009, http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/generation_state_mon.xls.
[i] Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the International Energy Conservation Code (2006 ed.), http://laws.flrules.org/files/Ch_2008-227.pdf.