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Georgia Power Shutting Two Coal Plants Due to Environmental Costs

By Lou Phelps

SBJ Staff

 

March 21, 2011 - Georgia Power announced this week that it intends to request approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission to decertify two coal-generating units that are producing 569 megawatts due to the cost to bring the plants up to environmental standards. In addition, the company plans to review all its plants in the state.

 

The announcement came during the week that the world is watching the nuclear plant crisis in Japan, and Congress begins to take a look at aging U.S. power plants, in general.Georgia Power currently operates 9,686 megawatts of coal-fueled generation at 10 plants across the state.

 

“The request to decertify units 1 and 2 at Plant Branch in Putnam Co. will be included in Georgia Power's updated Integrated Resource Plan filing with the commission in late summer. The company expects to ask for decertification of the units as of the effective dates of the Georgia Multipollutant Rule, which are currently anticipated to be Dec. 31, 2013 for unit 1 and Oct. 1, 2013 for unit 2,” according to the company on March 16.

 

“The decision to decertify the units is based on a need to install environmental controls to meet a variety of existing and expected environmental regulations,” stated Georgia Power, which leads to the question: are the units or the plant currently exceeding the emissions guidelines allowed from the Putnam County plant in Middle Georgia?

 

"After an extensive analysis of the cost to comply with environmental regulations, we have determined the continued operation of these units would be uneconomical for our customers," said Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers. "This decision is in keeping with our focus to provide affordable and reliable electricity for our customers."

 

According to Jeff Wilson, media representative for the company handling this particular issue, “The cost to comply with the Georgia Multipollutant Rule for all four units at Plant Branch in Putnam was $1.5 billion.”Units 1 and 2 would have to be retrofitted by the end of 2013 and Units 3 and 4 will have to be in compliance by the end of 2015.

 

Currently, all four units are in compliance with both federal and state emissions requirements, Wilson stated.

 

“Georgia Power will continue to evaluate existing and expected federal and state environmental rules involving air emissions, water treatment, and coal ash and gypsum to determine the economics of installing additional environmental controls on generating units at other Georgia Power plants, including Plant Branch units 3 and 4,” continued GP’s official announcement this week.

 

The Public Service Commission, however, is not expected to vote on the decertification request until spring 2012.

 

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility that serves 2.3 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.

 

The Savannah and Coastal Georgia region’s PSC member is Doug Everett from Cordele. A native of Cordele, Commissioner Everett was the first Republican elected to the Commission from Southwest Georgia in 2002. He served as Chairman of the PSC in 2004. He was elected to the Georgia House from Albany in 1996 and served three terms before his election to the Commission in 2002

 

Editor’s Note:To contact Everett and the four other PSC members by email: Stan Wise,PSC Chairman, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Chuck Eaton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Tim Echolsat This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Doug Everettat This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, Jr. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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