Georgia Power says Yates (former) coal units now fully on gas

Utility adding air controls to some coal units, switching others to natural gas

Georgia Power filed a Sept. 1 quarterly update with the Georgia Public Service Commission about its progress so far on a series of environmental control projects on coal-fired units in order to comply with various clean-air rules, including the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

The air projects are:

  • Baghouses - Plant Bowen Units 3 and 4;
  • Activated Carbon Injection (ACI) and Alkali Sorbent Injection (ALK) - Plant Bowen Units 1-4, Plant Hammond Units 1-4, Plant Wansley Units 1 and 2;
  • ACI and Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) - Plant McIntosh Unit 1;
  • Bromide Systems - Plant Scherer Units 1-3; and
  • Coal-to-gas switch - Plant Gaston Units 1-4, Plant Yates Units 6 and 7.

In terms of MATS, Georgia Power noted that on April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally denied reconsideration of the remaining issues raised in 20 petitions it received following issuance of the final MATS rule, including the petition submitted by Georgia Power parent Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) in April 2012. EPA denied reconsideration on procedural grounds claiming that the issues could have been raised in comments on the proposed rule or that the comments otherwise had been addressed by EPA.

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a 2014 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court and ruled that EPA should have considered costs when deciding whether to regulate hazardous air pollutants from electric utilities under MATS. After the reporting period for this project update, in late July, the case was remanded back to the D.C. Circuit Court for the next steps. On Aug. 11, the D.C. Circuit Court issued an order asking parties to file motions by Sept. 10 to govern further proceedings. In the meantime, the MATS rule is still in effect.

Progress at these plants on these projects through June 30 (the end of the reporting period) has been:

  • Plant Bowen Units 1 and 2 - The Units 1 and 2 ALK and ACI systems have been placed in service. The Units 1 and 2 precipitator work is complete.
  • Plant Bowen Units 3 and 4 - Pre-assembly of major baghouse components into larger modules is complete. Concrete foundations are being installed. Installation of duct support steel and duct sections for the Units 3 and 4 baghouses is complete, except for sections to be installed during tie-in outages. Installation of baghouse dampers and other components continues. Baghouse piping and electrical work is underway. The Unit 3 ALK system is complete. Work continues on the Units 3 and 4 ACI systems and the Unit 4 ALK system.
  • Plant Gaston Units 1-4 - Unit 4 tie-in outage is complete and testing and tuning is complete. Unit 4 is operational on gas or coal as of July 8, 2015. Gas conditioning station is complete. Installation of gas burners and supporting equipment continues on Units 1-3.
  • Plant Hammond Units 1-4 - The Units 1-4 ACI and ALK systems have been placed in service. Precipitator work for Units 1-4 is complete. Work continues on the lining of the existing landfill cell.
  • Plant McIntosh Unit 1 - Work on the ACI and DSI systems is complete. Precipitator refurbishment work is complete. Work on the new landfill has started.
  • Plant Scherer Units 1-3 - Engineering studies continue for bromide injection.
  • Plant Wansley Units 1 and 2 - The Units 1 and 2 ACI and ALK systems are in service. The Units 1 and 2 precipitator refurbishment is complete.   
  • Plant Yates Units 6 and 7 - The switch to natural gas at both units is complete. Unit 7 was placed into commercial operation on natural gas on May 4, 2015, and Unit 6 was placed into commercial operation on natural gas June 27, 2015.
Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 26 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Barry can be reached at