Green transformation continues for Plant Mitchell - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Green transformation continues for Plant Mitchell

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - When it gets hot, you're probably more likely to be thinking about turning down the thermostat rather than saving the planet. But what if you could do both? The Georgia Power plant in southern Dougherty County is about to undergo a huge transformation.

"We're hoping to start the retrofit in September 2011. And we're hoping to start producing electricity from wood in 2012," said Robert Rush of Georgia Power.

By the time that the transformation is complete, the piles of coal, which are transported here all the way from Kentucky, will be turned into wood chips. And they'll be coming from the plants own back yard, so to speak.

"The wood supply will be coming from within a 100 mile radius of Plant Mitchell," said Rush.

And the plant will still generate plenty of power, 96 megawatts to be exact. That's enough to power 24,000 homes during these hot Summer months. And while it may seem a good move for the environment and a bad move for the economy, the opposite is actually the case.

"That will reduce harmful emissions as well as provide 50 to 75 new jobs."

And this trend of green job creation is occurring statewide. According to a Pew Charitable Trust survey, Georgia saw 16,200 jobs created in green industries in 2007, compared to an average of 15,000 jobs in other states. For Georgia Power, this project does more than help the environment, it meets the demand of their customers.

 "A lot of our customers have expressed an interest in having their power produced from green sources."

So that in the future, when you run the air conditioner, you can feel as comfortable about the future of the planet as you do in your easy chair.

When Plant Mitchell is converted to using biomass, about 160 trucks from local trucking companies will be needed to keep the plant running.

Once Plant Mitchell is converted to biomass it will be one of the largest of its type in the country.

 

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"Green-collar" hiring in the U.S. took a hit during the current recession, but may accelerate beyond its 1998-2007 growth rate of about 9% a year - more than double the 3.7% growth rate for traditional jobs.

That's the word from experts participating in the Pew Charitable Trusts' new Clean Energy Economy study, billed as the U.S.'s first state-by-state survey of green-collar jobs.

By 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, more than 68,200 businesses across all 50 states and the District of Columbia accounted for about 770,000 jobs relating to clean energy.

California led the U.S. with about 124,000 green-collar jobs in 2007, followed by 56,000 in Texas. By comparison, fossil-fuel sector jobs in utilities, coal mining and oil and gas extraction comprised about 1.27 million workers in 2007.

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