ATLANTA, March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power today announced that preparation activities are currently underway to permanently close all of the company's 29 ash ponds located at 11 coal-fired generation facilities across the state. Twelve ponds are scheduled for closure in less than two years; 16 are expected to close in less than 10 years; and one pond is expected to close in approximately 10-14 years.
"Our primary focus throughout the closure process is maintaining a reliable generation fleet, while conducting the closure process in the most efficient way possible," said Dr. Mark Berry, vice president of environmental affairs for Georgia Power.
Ash pond closures are site-specific and involve complex processes that balance multiple factors such as pond size, location, geology and amount of material. The company must also ensure reliable electricity for customers during the significant construction work that will take place within each plant to accommodate the dry handling of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) required by new federal regulations. The closure of all 29 ash ponds is expected to cost over a billion dollars over the next 10 years.
The company has worked with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) on the closure plan and will continue to work closely with the EPD throughout the closure process. Additionally, all ash pond closures will be certified by a professional engineer.
Approximately 50 percent of the coal combustion by-products Georgia Power produces today are being recycled for various uses such as Portland cement, concrete, cinder blocks and drywall. In addition, the company has invested approximately $5 billion in new environmental compliance technologies for its coal-fired generation fleet, which are reducing emissions.
Georgia Power delivers clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through a diverse generation mix, which includes renewable energy, such as wind and solar, along with coal-fired generation, natural gas and nuclear. Over the last five years, Georgia Power has safely retired or fuel-switched approximately 4,000 MW of coal and oil-fired generation and the company's coal-fired generation capacity is nearly half of what it was in 2005.
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 2.5 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. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. 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 environmental compliance plans, estimated expenditures and impact on customer rates. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that could 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 fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, 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 environmental laws regulating emissions, discharges, and disposal to air, water, and land, 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; the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses and to satisfy any environmental performance standards; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies. Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
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SOURCE Georgia Power