New Report Shows Risks in GA Plant Washington

Guest Blog | December 4, 2008 | Press Releases

Atlanta, Ga. (December 4, 2008) – Today, environmental organizations released a report by Synapse Energy Economics, “The Risks of Building and Operating Plant Washington,” that identifies the financial risks of building a coal-fired electric power plant during the current, uncertain economic environment. Authored by David Schlissel, a senior consultant with Synapse Energy Economics, the report concludes that the proposed coal power plant in Washington County, Ga. will pose significant risks for the EMCs and their ratepayers.
The report notes that the “most significant uncertainties and risks associated with building and operating new coal-fired generating plants like the proposed Plant Washington are the potential for significant increases in the project’s construction cost and the inevitability of future restrictions on CO2 emissions.”
“The Cobb EMC this week posted data on its website that was used in its decision to participate in Plant Washington,” said Schlissel. “By its own admission, the data on which Cobb EMC relied for its decision to build a plant that will cost more than $2 billion are over a year and a half old and, therefore, do not reflect the skyrocketing construction cost increases that have affected all [other] power plant projects. There also is no evidence that Cobb EMC included any costs associated with mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.”
Other financial risks cited in the Synapse report include uncertainties connected with the costs of restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, uncertain fuel prices, fuel supply disruptions, and increasing stringency of regulations for pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury.
“This report shows that renewable energy technologies are available at a cost competitive rate,” said Stephen A. Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “A healthy energy mix with a focus on energy efficiency options can prevent this proposed coal plant, which truly represents a step back to the 19th century.”
Clean energy technologies pose fewer risks for human health and the environment and offer greater flexibility to residential, commercial, and industrial customers seeking reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy options for their homes and businesses.
The report clearly shows that coal is an expensive energy source, and that there are other cheaper, cleaner alternatives. Schlissel writes, within the report, “It is reasonable to expect that the actual cost of building the Washington County coal plant will be significantly higher than Power4Georgians has estimated. This will make the cost of power from Plant Washington more expensive and will make other alternatives, such as energy efficiency and biomass, more economically viable. With its current construction cost estimate, Power4Georgians is significantly underestimating the financial risk that this plant poses to the EMCs that will participate in the project and their members.” # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes responsible energy choices that solve global warming problems and ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.

GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. GreenLaw achieves these goals by providing free high quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information visit:

The Sierra Club works to protect our communities and the planet. Inspired by nature to contribute and participate, our members and supporters number more than 1.3 million friends and neighbors. The Club is America’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. For more information visit: