Coal-fired Georgia plants lead nation in greenhouse gas emissions, EPA data show

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Southern Company’s mammoth coal-fired power plants lead the nation in greenhouse gas emissions, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, but similar facilities closer to Augusta yield significantly lower pollution levels.

GEORGIA POWER CO./SPECIAL
The EPA’s new compilation of heat-trapping gases shows that U.S. power plants are responsible for about 72 percent of the pollution blamed for global warming, with Southern Company’s Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga., at the top of the list that includes about 6,700 of the nation’s industrial pollution sources.

The EPA’s new compilation of heat-trapping gases shows that U.S. power plants are responsible for about 72 percent the pollution blamed for global warming. Southern Company’s Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga., is at the top of the list, which includes about 6,700 of the nation’s industrial pollution sources.

Scherer reported releases totaling 22.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010, the most recent year for which complete data are available. Ranking second on the list was another Georgia facility, Southern Company’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, which reported slightly more than 21 million metric tons.

The company responded to the analysis by pointing out that while the plants are major emitters, they are also among the largest facilities of their kind – and have undergone costly improvements that have helped reduce many types of pollutants while simultaneously increasing the volume of electricity produced.

“Southern Company has invested $8.1 billion in environmental controls since 1990 and plans to invest at least an additional $1.2 billion through 2013 to further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The company is also a national leader in the development of cleaner technology and is managing the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Carbon Capture Center in Alabama, testing the next generation of technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Southern Company does not operate coal-fired power plants near Augusta but is planning a $14.8 billion expansion of nuclear Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Ga., where two new reactors are planned.

The new units, which are awaiting final construction and operation permits from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would be the first such facilities to be built in the U.S. in a generation, and would produce 1,100 megawatts of power apiece – without burning coal – when they become operational in 2016 and 2017.

The closest coal-fired power plant to Augusta is South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s Urquhart Steam Generating Plant in Beech Island. That facility, built in 1953, underwent a major overhaul a decade ago in which natural gas burners replaced some of the coal-fired boilers, reducing the use of coal by up to 1,400 tons per day.

According to the EPA data released this week, Urquhart’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 totaled 1,191,079 metric tons.

Another coal-fired facility closer to Augusta is Savannah River Site’s D Area electric plant, which emits 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide fumes, 400 tons of particulate pollution and 3,500 tons of sulfur dioxide per year.

That facility, built in the early 1950s, is scheduled to be closed later this year when its power production needs are replaced by a modern biomass steam plant completed in December in the site’s F Area.

That project, which will supply almost half the electricity consumed across the facilities at the SRS, will burn about 322,000 tons per year of wood chips and shredded tires to produce up to 20 megawatts of power. The plant’s main contractor, Ameresco, has a 20-year, $795 million contract to build and operate the site.

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Little Lamb
48869
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Little Lamb 01/12/12 - 02:13 pm
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Okay, we get it that the D

Okay, we get it that the D Area plant burns coal and emits 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year; and we get it that that plant is going to be replaced with a plant that will burn 320,000 tons of wood and rubber a year. But what you didn't tell us (so we could compare apples to apples) is how many tons of carbon dioxide a year will be emitted by the wood and rubber plant.

Little Lamb
48869
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Little Lamb 01/12/12 - 02:17 pm
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Okay, we get it that someone

Okay, we get it that someone compiled a list of 6,700 factory sites that burn coal. Some of those sites are tiny, some are moderate-sized, and some are massive. Georgia Power's Plant Scherer is the most massive one. Is anyone surprised that the most massive coal burning site will emit the most tons of carbon dioxide? I'm not.

draksig
167
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draksig 01/12/12 - 03:03 pm
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How about allowing for a fair

How about allowing for a fair comparison and give us the ammount of pollutants per Kw/H?

Pu239
284
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Pu239 01/12/12 - 08:09 pm
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How many tons of CO2 did the
Unpublished

How many tons of CO2 did the wood chips absorb during their previous job as purveyors of photosynthesis?

Pu239
284
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Pu239 01/12/12 - 08:12 pm
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Here's a hint 6CO2 + 6H2O ==>
Unpublished

Here's a hint 6CO2 + 6H2O ==> C6H12O6 + 6O2

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 01/13/12 - 06:42 am
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There's no such thing as
Unpublished

There's no such thing as "clean coal"... it's dirty and pollutes horribly.

Little Lamb
48869
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Little Lamb 01/13/12 - 09:10 am
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It's the same formula for the

It's the same formula for the coal, Pu. That is, if you believe that coal truly comes from living things.

UNION IW2
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UNION IW2 02/10/12 - 06:19 pm
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Here's a question for all....

Here's a question for all.... when this country 1st started building clean burning Nuclear Power Plants; we were told that nuke plants would be producing energy that would be ''Too cheap to measure.'' What happened to that? I know that with maintainance costs and such, they have to keep charging for the bills, but, most of the electricity from Vogtle goes out of state. Southern Company makes RECORD PROFITS EVERY YEAR, yet, our electric bills have increased steadily.
I have but 1 question...WHY??? The company and their officers make record profits and salaries, we pay more and more.

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