ATLANTA, June 24, 2005 (PRNewswire) — Georgia Power filed applications for four more scrubbers — two for Plant Wansley near Carrollton and two additional scrubbers for Plant Bowen near Cartersville.
In May, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued permits for the installation of Plant Bowen’s first two scrubbers, which are now under construction.
Scrubbers remove sulfur dioxide (SO2) from power plant emissions.
Mike Garrett, Georgia Power’s president and CEO, says scrubbers are the company’s next step in its strategy to continue to reduce emissions. “Georgia Power’s investment in additional environmental controls will total at least $1.3 billion over the next five years,” said Garrett. “Working with the Georgia Public Service Commission, we have invested $1 billion in environmental controls in the past 10 years, and we’ll continue to invest in environmental improvement technologies as directed by Georgia EPD.”
“Sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by as much as 95 percent on each of these six generating units,” noted Chuck Huling, Georgia Power’s vice president of environmental affairs. “Companywide, these reductions will total roughly 50 percent, and when combined with past reductions, total sulfur dioxide emissions reductions will be down approximately 70 percent from 1990 levels.”
The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Interstate Rule, issued in March, requires SO2 reductions, along with reductions of nitrogen oxides. Scrubbers also reduce the amount of fine particulates and mercury produced by power plants. EPA issued a mercury rule in March requiring significant reductions in mercury emissions from power plants for the first time.
“These scrubbers will make a big difference in reducing the total amount of sulfur dioxide coming from these power plants,” said Dr. Carol A. Couch, director of the Georgia EPD. “Georgia Power is making a significant investment to get cleaner air, sooner, in metropolitan Atlanta.
“Over the next year, Georgia EPD will develop plans to further reduce air pollution from motor vehicles and industry, as well as power plants. Our air quality issues are caused by multiple pollutants, including ozone and particulate matter, and through these new scrubbers, Georgia Power is helping to do its part,” Couch said.
Governor Perdue announced last week that metropolitan Atlanta has attained the one-hour ozone standard. In addition to emission reductions by utilities, Couch attributed the improvement in air quality to requirements for auto emissions testing and the sale of cleaner-burning gasoline, a ban on open burning during the ozone season and changes in commuter behavior to reduce the number of cars on metro highways. Attainment of the eight-hour ozone standard and the standard for fine particulate matter will require continued diligence across all of these sectors, Couch said.
Georgia Power expects to make even more reductions over the next decade as EPD develops specific plans for all sources of emissions to meet new federal rules.
The construction of scrubbers and other new pollution control devices will create thousands of jobs in the state over the next decade. The first two Bowen scrubbers alone will take three years to construct and will require 1,000 craft laborers. The scrubbers at Bowen will be among the largest fiberglass vessels ever to be built in the United States.
Plant Wansley is co-owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the City of Dalton.
About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility, serving customers in 57,000 of the state’s 59,000 square miles. Georgia Power’s rates are below the national average and its 2 million customers are in all but six of Georgia’s 159 counties.