http://www.cleanenergy.org/2013/09/24/stop-new-coal-in-georgia/

SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Stop New Coal in Georgia

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While new coal plants around the nation are going bankrupt, raising power costs for small towns and getting canceled before the first shovel of dirt is turned over (and utilities around the Southeast are planning to retire old plants), Georgia still has one in the works: Plant Washington, proposed by Power4Georgians (P4G) in 2008. Power4Georgians was originally a consortium of utility co-ops (Electric Membership Corporations or EMCs), but thanks to active EMC members, EMCs are no longer funding plant development. The proposal now relies on private investment, though public records show it attracting only $2 million toward its $2-billion-plus construction cost. Plant Washington is a COSTLY MISTAKE, and many people think it’s also a boondoggle that will benefit certain individuals (download our explanation of these connections here). The plant proposal seems to be caught in a limbo of perpetual delays, and a forensic audit of Cobb EMC, which initiated the Power4Georgians proposal, described it as “dormant”.

EPA’s final August 2015 Clean Power Plan limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants makes special mention of Plant Washington, as one of the last coal-fired power plants still proposed in the nation. The EPA pointed out that in October 2014, P4G received an 18-month extension on Plant Washington’s air permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and that the possibility of Plant Washington being built and operating is “too remote” to merit an exemption from the new carbon emission standards. If the plant is to move forward, P4G will need to apply to EPA for a designation as either a new source or an existing source, a process that will take yet more time and may result in the plant falling under a carbon limit it cannot meet.
P4G will also have to request another extension of the state air permit in the spring of 2016 or risk losing the state’s blessing to construct the plant. At that point it may be hard to argue that such an extension is warranted, and EPD would be wise to decline the request.

For more information on Plant Washington please contact SACE’s Campaigns Director.

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If you are a member of Snapping Shoals EMC, Central Georgia EMC, Washington EMC, or Upson EMC, you already paid for development of these plants. These four EMCs remain involved in Plant Washington even though they ceased funding it in 2012. The Boards of Directors are considering contracting to buy power from the plant, a dangerous commitment in a market where new coal plants are experiencing serious financial difficulty. One new plant in the Midwest is charging municipalities that committed to buy its power as much as 51% more than market rates.

Please contact your EMC and ask them NOT to sign any “power purchase agreements” with Plant Washington or Power4Georgians. You may also want to ask for the following information, which has not been disclosed:

  • information about whether Plant Washington is needed in light of recent demand trends;
  • a detailed, updated cost estimate (in 2008 the stated price was $2.1 billion, but Georgia Watch estimates that Plant Washington could cost nearly $4 billion, and a financial pro forma for the plant was never done);
  • an accounting of how the $27-million-plus in member funds the EMCs have already contributed to the two projects was actually spent;
  • how the decision was made to invest in new coal over other less expensive and more sustainable options.

IMPORTANT UPDATES! Please visit our CleanEnergy Footprints Blog to keep up-to-date on important developments with Plant Washington.