ATLANTA, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The second of Georgia Power's three, 840 megawatt (MW) natural gas combined-cycle units at Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna, Ga. became operational April 26. Georgia Power placed the first natural gas unit on-line at the plant in December 2011. The third unit is currently under construction and is expected to become operational in November 2012.
The addition of these natural gas combined-cycle units will help meet the expected growth in customer electricity needs and ensure reliability in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. They will also reduce emissions and help improve air quality in Metro Atlanta.
"The new combined-cycle units are among the cleanest and most efficient units in Georgia Power's system," said Stan Connally, Georgia Power's senior vice president of Generation. "I want to recognize the Georgia Public Service Commission for its foresight in approving this state-of-the art technology, which is an increasingly important element in Georgia Power's diverse energy portfolio."
With the addition of the third natural gas unit in November, the new units at Plant McDonough-Atkinson will be capable of producing in excess of 2,500 MW, enough energy to power approximately 625,000 homes. They also will represent one of the largest generation sources on Georgia Power's system.
At the height of construction, in the midst of a strained economy, more than 2,000 contract and construction workers were involved in building the new units.
Georgia Power retired the two coal units at Plant McDonough-Atkinson on Sept. 30, 2011 and Feb. 29, 2012, respectively.
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 with rates below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.