Gov. Kemp tours Plant Vogtle, now the largest provider of clean energy in the U.S.

Gov. Kemp tours Plant Vogtle, now the largest provider of clean energy in the U.S.

By Fred Blankenship, WSB-TV

ATLANTA — Georgia is now the largest provider of clean energy in the country.

Gov. Brian Kemp visited Plant Vogtle on Wednesday to see the nuclear plant decades in the making for himself.

“We are the only state in the country right now that can say we have two new nuclear reactors putting green energy and clean energy into the grid,” Kemp told Channel 2′s Fred Blankenship.

Channel 2 Action News first took you on a tour of the plant last month when Channel 2′s Justin Farmer got exclusive access just days before the plant’s fourth and final reactor went online.

The two newest units at the plant are expected to operate for the next 60 to 80 years.

“You talked about the economic impact for Georgia, how do you see that playing out?” Blankenship asked Kemp.

“Really, what these reactors are going to allow us to do in the future from recruiting businesses high users of electricity but also being able to provide that clean energy,” Kemp said.

Georgia Power CEO Kim Greene echoed that sentiment.

“I have, fortunately, had the opportunity to run into many of my peers and a lot of people all over the country who are, quite frankly, talking about Georgia as being the envy of the country right now,” Greene said.

The construction did not come without its challenges.

Consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch said Georgia Power customers will see about a $9 bump on their bills.

“It’s seven years late and it’s billions of dollars over budget,” said Liz Coyle with Georgia Watch.

“What do you say to people who say this has been a long process, has it been worth it?” Blankenship asked Kemp.

“Has it been frustrating? Absolutely. Has it taken a long time? Absolutely. But look nobody has done this in the US in 20 years,” Kemps said.

Right now, nuclear energy provides more than 25% of Georgia’s electricity.

“We got power, we got clean power. The great state of Georgia is open for business we want to talk to you,” Kemp said.

The expansion employed more than 9,000 workers on-site during construction and now it employs more than 800 full-time workers.