The state Public Service Commission is gearing up for a big vote later this week. It's on Georgia Power’s 20-year plan for providing energy to customers. The utility wants to shutter 16 coal- and oil-fired units, but it is drawing criticism for not including more solar energy and other renewables in the mix.
A proposed coal plant in middle Georgia has tightened its air permits per a court order. But environmental groups say the plant still won’t comply with a proposed federal rule scheduled to come out this fall.
More than half the water in Georgia is used to make electricity. From nuclear to hydro-power, just about every river in the state has some kind of power plant on its banks. But as Georgia’s population and energy needs grow, there are concerns about the health of rivers, especially in times of drought.
Georgia Power says the cost of upgrading or replacing power plants to meet stricter environmental rules could cost $5 billion to $7 billion through 2020. The Southern Co. subsidiary gave its first estimate Friday of what it would cost assuming proposed anti-pollution rules are adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Georgia Power says it will be shuttering three power plants for economic reasons. Two coal fired units at Plant Branch in Milledgeville will close in 2013. That’s a result of federal regulation tightening air pollution controls. The company has said it’s too costly to upgrade those units.
Environmentalists and health advocates are hailing a stricter federal standard on soot and smog that came down Thursday. It mandates tighter pollution controls for coal plants in and around the state. The cross state air pollution rule is a part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s aim to cut 2005 smog and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than a half come 2014.