The recent news items of the approval of a 6 percent rate hike by Georgia Power Co., in addition to nearly $1 billion in cost overruns at Plant Vogtle construction, were disconcerting. The response from our governor was to blame environmental activists.
I think a more critical-thinking approach to root cause analysis would lead to a different conclusion. The question that should be asked initially is: Why are we building a new nuclear power plant? The recent dramatic drop in the cost of natural gas has caused many other states to rethink their initial assumption. The cost of electrical power from a nuclear plant is 10 cents per kilowatt hour, while power from a gas-fired plant costs only four cents per kilowatt hour (The Economist, June 1). Thus, plans to build nuclear plants in nine states in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states were delayed or scrapped.
This prompts the question: Why is Georgia continuing to pursue construction of a high-cost generating plant, with all its typical cost overruns, when other states are building low-cost gas fired plants?