ATLANTA, June 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power today announced the latest update on its ash pond closure strategy and provided new details on the timeline and engineering methods being used for all 29 of its ash ponds.
All of the company's 29 ash ponds across the state will cease operations and stop receiving coal ash within the next three years. Additionally, the company is completely removing the ash from 16 ponds located adjacent to lakes or rivers where advanced engineering methods, such as the installation of impermeable concrete barriers designed to isolate the closed pond from groundwater, may not be feasible. The ash from these ponds will either be relocated to a permitted landfill, consolidated with other closing ash ponds or recycled for beneficial use. (Approximately 50 percent of the coal ash Georgia Power produces today is recycled for various uses such as Portland cement, concrete, and cinder blocks.) The company's remaining 13 ash ponds will be closed in place using advanced engineering methods.
Click here to view a chart of all 29 ash ponds.
"We are aggressively working to close our ash ponds as quickly and safely as possible to meet EPA's new standards for handling coal ash," said Dr. Mark Berry, vice president of environmental affairs for Georgia Power. "As part of our strategy, we are also leveraging advanced technologies and engineering practices to ensure additional measures are in place that are protective of groundwater."
Throughout the closure process, Georgia Power is monitoring groundwater around all of its ash ponds and will report results to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Additionally, more than 500 groundwater monitoring wells will continue to operate even after the ponds are closed.
Ash pond closures are site-specific and balance multiple factors such as pond size, location, geology, and amount of material; and each closure will be certified by a team of independent, professional engineers. Additionally, the company must also ensure reliable electricity for customers during the significant construction work that must take place within each generating plant in order to accommodate the handling of dry ash and complete the ash pond closure process.
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 natural gas, nuclear and coal-fired generation. 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 the method and timing of closure of coal ash ponds. 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