|Georgia Power to Close All 29 Coal Ash Ponds|
Georgia Power to Close All 29 Coal Ash Ponds
In a September 28 announcement, Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Southern Company, said it 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 company says the closure and schedule is a response to the EPA’s Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rule as well as the Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines final rule published September 30.
Georgia Power didn't provide a cost estimate for the ash pond closures, but its parent Southern Co. told its investors it could face $700 million in “asset retirement obligations” related to the EPA's coal combustion residuals rule. The company said in a quarterly financial report filed August 5 that it had recorded that amount on its balance sheet during the second quarter, as an “initial estimate” related to complying with the CCR rule. Among its four electric utility subsidiaries, Georgia Power recorded estimated obligations of $82 million and Alabama Power recorded $401 million related to the CCR rule.
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 said it plans to work with state environmental and utility regulators to develop the closure plans. The company said it has reduced its coal ash production in recent years through a shift to natural gas, renewables and other power sources, and it now recycles more than half of its current ash production.