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New Nuc Plants Approved
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
March 17--Today the Georgia Public Service Commission (Commission) approved the Georgia Power Company (Company) request for certification to build two new units at its Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in southeast Georgia. This certification is required under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §46-3A-3) for the Company to proceed with construction of these units and seek recovery of construction and financing costs from ratepayers.

 

A majority of the Commission adopted a motion by Commissioner Stan Wise to adopt a stipulation signed by both the Company and the Commission Public Interest Advocacy Staff. In addition, Commissioner Wise’s motion would allow the Company to recover the cost of financing the plant during construction, known as Construction Work in Progress or CWIP, and approved a recommendation for the company and the PSC staff to work together to develop an alternative risk sharing mechanism to provide some protection from significant cost overruns to ratepayers.

 

Commissioner Wise said, “CWIP will save customers money and better ensure that the creditworthiness of the Company can withstand the financing of these costs, which again saves customers money.”

 

Key points of the stipulation include:

  • Sets the Company’s portion of the certified cost of the new units at $6.446 billion
  • The Company will pay up to $600,000 per year for each year of construction for an independent Construction Monitor
  • Requires the Company to file semi-annual construction monitoring  and quarterly status reports with the Commission
  • The Company will file the first monitoring report on August 31, 2009 with the next report to be filed on February 28, 2010.

 

Georgia Power filed its certification request on August 1, 2008. The Commission held three rounds of hearings in November and December 2008 and in January 2009 during which witnesses presented testimony and parties entered evidence to support their filings.

 

Plant Vogtle, located near Waynesboro, Georgia, has been in operation since 1987 with the completion of Unit 1. Unit 2 went on line in 1989.

 

More information on this issue can be found by accessing the Docket Search on the Commission’s website, www.psc.state.ga.us, using Docket Number 27800.

 

In other action, the Commission approved the Company’s request to certify the conversion of Unit 3 at its Plant Mitchell generation plant from burning coal to biomass fuels. Georgia Power has indicated in its filing that conversion of the Plant Mitchell Unit 3 is consistent with the Company’s renewable expansion plans, adds to fuel diversity and maximizes the life and value of the unit.  As part of the 2007 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), the Commission found Georgia Power’s plan to develop cost-effective renewable resources to be reasonable.

 

The plant is scheduled to be in commercial operation for the summer of 2012.  Under the IRP statute, new power generation cannot be added to the system nor can significant changes be made to the capacity of an existing facility without a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by this Commission.

 

More information on this issue can be found on the Commission web site, www.psc.state.ga.us under Docket Number 28158.

 

 
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