Upon conversion, Plant Mitchell - near Albany - would be capable of producing 96 megawatts of renewable energy - or enough electricity to power 60,000 homes. The plant would have lower emissions, and would be one of the largest wood biomass plants in the United States. It would also have lower fuel and operating costs when compared to continued operation using coal, thereby making the plant more cost-effective for customers.
Surplus wood fuel for Plant Mitchell would come from suppliers operating within an approximately 100-mile radius of the plant.
"Georgia Power is taking an important step toward continued diversification of its fuel sources and making renewable energy more affordable for customers," said Mike Garrett, Georgia Power president and CEO. "By converting Plant Mitchell to biomass, we hope to not only help grow the renewable resource base in Georgia but also to expand the market for renewable energy credits, which ultimately will foster additional renewable energy development."
Renewable energy credits are created when a renewable energy facility generates electricity or uses renewable fuel. The PSC is expected to rule on the proposal to convert Plant Mitchell to biomass by spring of 2009. Retrofit construction would begin by spring of 2011 and the biomass plant would likely begin operations in June 2012.