Georgia Power to file decertification request for Plant Mitchell Unit 3 Proposed conversion to biomass deemed not cost effective for its customers
Georgia Power announced that it plans to file a request in 2014 with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to decertify Unit 3 at Plant Mitchell in Albany, Ga. The company is also cancelling the previously proposed conversion of the coal-fired unit to biomass after extensive review and analysis deemed the conversion would not be cost effective for its customers. If the request to decertify the 155 megawatt (MW) unit is approved, it will be retired by April 16, 2015 – the compliance date of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule.
"We are continuously evaluating our generation mix to determine what sources provide the best long-term value for our customers," said John Pemberton, senior vice president and senior production officer for Georgia Power. "Fuel diversity is key in providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy and we will continue to leverage natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables, as well as energy efficiency programs, as part of our robust portfolio."
Since proposing the conversion to biomass in 2008, Georgia Power has worked to assess the project in light of new EPA regulations, as well as changing market and economic conditions. In addition to increased capital costs and costs related to environmental compliance, multiple other factors, such as the recent economic downturn and lower natural gas prices, have significantly reduced the project's value and benefits for customers. The company also considered switching the unit to Powder River Basin (PRB) coal or natural gas, neither of which proved viable.
Georgia Power is in the midst of a significant transition to the company's generation fleet. As part of its 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), the company received approval from the PSC to decertify and retire more than 2,000 MW of coal- and oil-fired generation at facilities across the state.
Georgia Power continues to add cost-effective renewable generation to its portfolio. By 2017, the company is expected to have more than 2,300 MW of generation from renewable sources in operation or under contract including hydro, biomass, landfill gas, solar and wind generation. The company recently added 250 MW of wind generation to its portfolio and will soon have nearly 800 MW of solar capacity under contract.
About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Consistently recognized as a leader in customer service, Georgia Power was recently ranked highest in overall business customer satisfaction among large utilities in the South by J.D. Power and Associates. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower) and Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning plant retirement, anticipated fuel mix, estimated purchases under power purchase agreements, and future regulatory actions. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, environmental laws including regulation of water, coal combustion byproducts, and emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon, soot, particulate matter, hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, and other substances, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Georgia Power Company is subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the recent recession, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation measures, and any potential economic impacts resulting from federal fiscal decisions; available sources and costs of fuels; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of future rate cases and negotiations; and the ability of Georgia Power Company to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices. Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
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