Georgia Power announced today that the company is developing a closure timeline for all of its 29 coal ash ponds and expects to finalize and release the schedule within the next six months. The schedule will be developed in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) costly Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rule as well as the soon-to-be signed Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines. The company will consult with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to develop the plan.
"We are developing an ash pond closure timeline that will meet all federal regulations in the most economical way for our customers and our business," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "Safety and compliance will continue to be our primary focus throughout the closure process, while fulfilling our longstanding commitment to protect the environment and the communities we serve."
Georgia Power has a strong safety and compliance record with a comprehensive and rigorous inspection program to safely maintain its containment structures and facilitate long-term planning. The company is in the pre-closure process at several retired or converted coal-fired generation sites which includes some preliminary site work such as ash relocation and tree clearing, as well as considering vendors for potential closure activities.
The company's 29 ash ponds are located around 11 coal plants across the state – Plant Bowen (Euharlee), Plant Branch (Eatonton), Plant Hammond (Coosa), Plant Kraft (Port Wentworth), Plant McDonough (Smyrna), Plant McIntosh (Rincon), Plant McManus (Brunswick), Plant Mitchell (Albany), Plant Scherer (Macon), Plant Wansley (Carrollton), and Plant Yates (Newnan).
The company delivers clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through a diverse generation mix including nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewable sources such as solar and wind. As the company has increased its use of natural gas, renewable and other non-coal sources of generation over the past decade, its production of coal ash and other byproducts has significantly declined, and it now recycles more than 50 percent of its current production.