Harllee Branch Generating Plant

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Harllee Branch Generating Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Southern Company's Georgia Power near Milledgeville, Georgia.

Units 1 and 2 are slated for retirement in 2013, and 3 and 4 in 2015.

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Proposed retirement

In March 2011, Georgia Power announced that it expects to request approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission to decertify two coal-generating units 1 and 2 at the Harllee Branch Generating Plant, totaling 569 megawatts. The company expects to ask for decertification of the units as of the effective dates of the Georgia Multipollutant Rule, which are currently anticipated to be Dec. 31, 2013 for unit 1 and Oct. 1, 2013 for unit 2. GP said the costs of upgrades would be uneconomical for its customers. The commission is expected to vote on the decertification request in spring 2012.[1]Georgia Power confirmed the retirements at the Harllee Branch Generating Plant in July, 2011, and added that one more unspecified unit would be shut down in the company's system. [2]

On January 7, 2013, Georgia Power said it plans to seek approval from Georgia regulators to retire 15 coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired power plants in the state, totaling 2,061 megawatts (MW). The coal plants would include units 3 and 4 at Plant Branch. The company said it expects to ask to retire the units by the April 16, 2015, effective date of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.[3]

Plant Data

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 9,903,919 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 95,990 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 20,961 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 424 lb.

Coal Waste Site

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Harllee Branch Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[5] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[6]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Harllee Branch Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 140 $1,100,000,000
Heart attacks 200 $22,000,000
Asthma attacks 2,500 $130,000
Hospital admissions 100 $2,400,000
Chronic bronchitis 90 $40,000,000
Asthma ER visits 150 $55,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Branch ranked 12th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[7] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[8]

Harllee Branch Generating Plant ranked number 12 on the list, with 2,433,945 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[7]

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment

One of Harllee Branch's coal ash surface impoundments is on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[9]

Legislative issues

House Bill 276, proposed by Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), would put a 5-year moratorium on building new coal plants and eliminate the burning of Appalachian coal mined by mountaintop removal by mid-2016. The Appalachian Mountain Preservation Act would gradually prohibit Georgia coal consumers from using Central Appalachian mountaintop removal beginning in 2011. The bill is backed by environmental groups including Appalachian Voices but received strong opposition from POWER4Georgians, a coalition of 10 electric co-operatives seeking to build a $2 billion 850-megawatt supercritical coal plant in Washington County.[10][11]

Citizen groups

Focus the Nation: Valdosta State University

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "Georgia Power Announces Plans to Decertify Two Coal Generating Units" PR Newswire, March 16, 2011.
  2. Kristi E. Swartz "Georgia Power says it will close 3 power-plant units" Atlanta Journal and Constitution, July 11, 2011.
  3. "Georgia Power to close 15 coal, oil units," AJC, Jan. 7, 2013.
  4. Energy Information Administration Form 923 for 2009
  5. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  6. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  8. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  9. Coal waste
  10. "Georgia bill proposes moratorium on new coal plants," Reuters, February 4, 2009.
  11. Margaret Newkirk, "Bill would restrict coal power plants," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2009.

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