Friday, December 5, 2008

Plant Washington to Offer Reliable and Affordable Electricity to Citizens of Georgia

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Power4Georgians, a consortium of 10 Georgia EMCs that have partnered to develop a comprehensive strategy to meet demand for affordable and reliable energy in Georgia, today emphasized its position that coal is an essential cornerstone to fulfilling that strategy.

“While we are proponents of viable alternative energy projects such as wind, solar, biomass, etc., none of those options can come close to fulfilling large scale needs in the near future,” said Dean Alford, spokesman for Power4Georgians.

Some opponents of coal have spread misinformation indicating that to build and operate Plant Washington in a safe and environmentally responsible manner is not economically viable. There are many flaws in their argument; specifically they claim that the prices for materials used in construction are escalating rapidly, which is not true. Steel for instance has declined from its July price of $1,000 per ton to about $500 per ton today. Perhaps most significant are opponent claims that the cost of coal continues to rise when the reality is, coal has declined approximately 40% since July.

“It is ludicrous to believe that we would move forward with Plant Washington if we weren’t certain that it was economically viable,” said Dean Alford, spokesman for Power4Georgians. “I can assure you, nobody is more cognizant of cost than the co-ops involved in this project.”

To be built and operated near Sandersville in Washington County, Georgia, the plant will provide an enormous economic boost for the region and indeed the entire state. Capital investment is expected to be approximately $2.1 billion. For comparison sake, the much publicized Kia manufacturing plant in west-central Georgia represents an investment of $1.2 billion.

Plant Washington will create more than 1,400 jobs during the construction phase of the project and approximately 130 full time jobs when the plant is placed into operation. In addition, 300 support jobs in ancillary businesses will be created in the region when the plant opens.

“This is a perfect example of a project that will provide great benefit to the people of Georgia at a time when it is needed most,” Alford said.

With Georgia’s rapidly growing population - and even with Plant Washington contributing 850 Megawatts to the state’s power grid - consumption of electricity will outstrip supply within the next decade unless new generation facilities are built and placed into operation.

“Power4Georgians believes in an ‘all in’ strategy which means we fully support solar, wind, biomass, nuclear and coal generation facilities. Georgia needs every bit of electricity that can be generated if we are to assure that when the switch is flipped, the lights come on now and for years to come,” Alford concluded.

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