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Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 9:46am

Georgia Power Replaces Coal Plants With Gas

Georgia Power is in the process of getting rid of two of its coal plants and replace them with natural gas units. Those gas units, according to Georgia Power, will create more energy than the two new reactors being build at Plant Vogtle and for a fraction of the construction cost.

The 3 natural gas units at Plant McDonough in metro-Atlanta will begin coming on line in 2012.

They will produce about 300 more megawatts of energy than the two nuclear units Georgia Power is adding to Plant Vogtle which won’t be completed until 2017. And the gas project construction costs $2 billion and the nuclear expansion cost more than $14 billion.

But Georgia Power doesn’t want to make natural gas its primary power generator.

Tony Tramonte with Georgia Power says having a mixed bag of energy sources is more reliable.

"It’s probably not in the customers long term best interest for GA Power to have all its assets in one fuel source," says Tramonte.

Tramonte says hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and technical problems with gas lines can interrupt gas supply

He says Georgia Power has no current plans to convert other coal plants to cleaner burning gas but that could change with pending environmental regulations.