November 29, 2006
Georgia Power Proposes to Replace Metro Atlanta Coal-Fueled Plant With Cleaner Natural-Gas Fueled Generator
ATLANTA, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power announced today that the company is proposing to replace a coal-fueled plant in metro Atlanta with a more efficient natural gas-fueled generating unit.
Replacing coal-fueled Plant Jack McDonough, located in Smyrna, with a natural gas-fueled "combined cycle" generating unit is expected to be more cost effective than retrofitting the plant with expensive environmental controls. The natural gas-fueled unit also will produce cleaner energy than McDonough's two coal units, even if those coal units were retrofitted with the additional controls.
As a result of growth in demand and increased environmental regulations, Georgia Power is proposing - in a filing next year with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) - to invest in a new 800-megawatt natural gas combined cycle unit at the 370-acre site.
The proposal to replace the coal units will be submitted with the company's 2007 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which will be filed in late January at the PSC.
In a prior "Requests for Proposals" (RFP) filing at the PSC, the company proposed adding two other 800-megawatt natural gas fueled generators at the McDonough site. The addition of a third unit to replace McDonough's coal- fueled units would bring the capacity of the site to 2,400 megawatts. Georgia Power will file a certification request for the first two units with the PSC in late January.
Plant Jack McDonough was built inside the perimeter near Smyrna in the 1960s to provide a reliable source of electricity to metro Atlanta. The company also recently demolished a 1940s-era coal plant, Plant Atkinson, at the same site.
"Plant McDonough has been an important part of our system in the metro Atlanta area for many years," said Mike Garrett, Georgia Power president and CEO. "Replacing these coal units with highly-efficient combined cycle units is expected to cost less - and improve Atlanta's air quality."
Georgia Power expects to invest billions of dollars on new environmental controls on its larger, more efficient coal-fueled power plants. "For our larger units, it makes sense economically and environmentally to invest in these controls," said Chuck Huling, Georgia Power's vice president of environmental affairs.
"Plant McDonough is the only coal-fueled power plant we have located within the metro area, so replacing the coal units with gas generators will help improve the air in metro Atlanta," Huling said. "We have significantly reduced NOx emissions statewide by installing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology and we're in the process of building scrubbers to reduce SO2 emissions on many of our larger units." Huling added. "Removing the coal units at Plant McDonough will significantly reduce NOx and SO2 emissions from a plant site located within the perimeter of metro Atlanta."
"It makes sense to use an existing generating site near Atlanta for new generation from a land use standpoint," Garrett added. "Use of this site also helps add reliability to our system by ensuring we have adequate generating capacity near a high-demand area."
If Georgia Power's proposals are approved by the PSC and the company receives appropriate permits, construction is expected to begin on the first gas unit in 2008. This unit is scheduled to be on-line late in 2010, and the total project would be completed by 2012.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility, serving 2.25 million customers in 155 of 159 counties in Georgia. Georgia Power's rates remain well below the national average.
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CONTACT: John Sell or Tiffany Gilstrap of Georgia Power, +1-404-506-7676,or +1-800-282-1696
Web site: http://www.georgiapower.com/