By Renetta DuBose – WBJF
There are four owners with a stake in the new construction at Plant Vogtle: Georgia Power, The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Dalton Utilities and Oglethorpe Power. Oglethorpe power, which was holding out, agreed to keep the construction going. The news came down Wednesday afternoon. It was a decision that came with at least three extensions for Oglethorpe Power. One that, according to Georgia Public Service Commission Vice President Tim Echols, was not taken lightly.
“I appreciate them negotiating and trying to save members money and, in fact, I think they have saved their members some money with the deal that they got,” he said.
However, thousands of workers clocked into Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 not knowing their fate.
“There are almost 7,000 workers out there out at the plant,” Echols said.
Joining them in uncertainty were several local businesses who benefit from those same workers and their off-site exchanges.
Echols added, “When you think about all of the hamburgers they buy, the cars, the gas, the groceries, the hotel rooms, the apartments and all the money, the millions and millions of payroll dollars that are being spent in the Augusta/Aiken area.”
Echols also weighed in on the importance of the decision and why the extensions, a total of three this week, shows just how much thought went into the future of the project.
He shared, “It could very well be important if we have a president in the future, a congress in the future, that decides to impose some kind of carbon or CO2 tax on states. In a way we’re hedging that it will happen and we’re trying to get our state prepared so that we save rate payers money in the future.”
The executive director of Georgia Watch, a consumer activist group in the state, said despite the decision, it’s the process concerning many.
“Our concern remains that the project is still not well managed,” said Liz Coyle. “There is still not evidence that the project is going to be able to meet the current forecast dates for being operational.”
The PSC shared this press release regarding the decision.
ATLANTA – Sept. 26, 2018 – All four of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project co-owners (Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities) have voted to continue construction of the two new nuclear units near Waynesboro, Ga.
“We are all pleased to have reached an agreement and to move forward with the construction of Vogtle Units 3 & 4 which is critical to Georgia’s energy future,” said the co-owners. “While there have been and will be challenges throughout this process, we remain committed to a constructive relationship with each other and are focused on reducing project risk and fulfilling our commitment to our member-consumers.”
In connection with the votes to continue construction, all four of the co-owners agreed to finalize and execute definitive agreements which helps mitigate financial exposure for each of them. The details are contained in each company’s e 8-K.
The new units are the first to be built in the United States in more than 30 years and the only new nuclear units currently under construction in America. Expected on-line in November 2021 (Unit 3) and November 2022 (Unit 4), the new units are expected to generate enough emission-free electricity to power approximately 500,000 homes and businesses.
Today, Vogtle 3 & 4 is the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, employing more than 7,000 workers from across the country, with more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating. Progress and productivity continue to improve, illustrated by multiple recent achievements such as the placement of the first steam generator and both accumulators – a key component of the AP1000 reactor safety system – inside the Unit 4 containment vessel.
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