Power production winding down at Plant Mitchell - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Power production winding down at Plant Mitchell

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DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA -

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols toured Plant Mitchell Tuesday to see if there's a way to keep it as a major power generator. He came away with the conclusion that there isn't.

New standards from the Environmental Protection Agency will force Georgia Power to take the main coal burner offline by next April.

The utility wanted to turn it into a biomass plant but determined that would not be cost-effective.

To help fill the void, the PSC ordered Georgia Power to add more solar energy to its system and likely will do that again in the future. But there are limitations to solar power. Echols said, "Solar is great from about 11:00 in the morning to about 4:00 in the afternoon, but we need power early in the morning, and we need power at night too, so we can't ever get away from traditional forms of energy."

Two oil-fired units at Plant Mitchell will remain online, manned by a skeleton crew of about a half dozen workers, but Echols said those units will rarely be used. They'll only be fired up in emergency situations when power demand reaches an extreme high.

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