TALBOTTON, Ga., April 18, 2001 Oglethorpe Power Corporation today formally announced its decision to construct an estimated $280 million, natural gas-powered energy facility in southwest Talbot County to help meet Georgia's growing need for electricity.
The 652-megawatt (MW) facility on Cartledge Road will supply power to participating Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) throughout the state. It is expected to provide more than a million dollars in annual property tax, sales tax, and other benefits to the county.
Michael W. Price, chief operating officer for the not-for-profit power supply cooperative, said the Talbot County project is a much-needed facility that will "help ensure adequate power for our Members and their consumers and help avoid some of the problems like those now being experienced in California."
"We're a Georgia-based corporation working in partnership with our Member EMCs to help meet the electricity needs of one of the fastest growing states in the nation," Price said.
Price praised Talbot County and area officials and residents for their outstanding cooperation and assistance in helping Oglethorpe Power locate and evaluate the site. "The County Commission, the Development Authority, the Valley Partnership, federal, state and local legislators, and other local officials and citizens have been helpful and supportive, and we thank them greatly for their support," he said. "We believe this will be an outstanding asset for the citizens of Talbot County."
Oglethorpe Power plans to construct the energy facility on a 200-acre tract on Cartledge Road that was recently acquired in a land swap with Mead Coated Board, Inc. The property had been under study for about a year, and a public meeting to provide information and obtain input on the proposed facility was held last October. The first four of the facility's planned six units are scheduled for operation in the summer of 2002, with an additional two units scheduled for the summer of 2003.
Price said the facility will occupy only about 25 acres of the 200-acre site, and the rest will be maintained as a buffer. In addition to using clean-burning, low emission natural gas, the new facility will feature the latest in technology to assure clean, safe, unobtrusive and efficient operation.
The electric generating units will be constructed and operated inside a fenced area and will utilize distance, natural barriers and noise control technology to ensure that noise levels are not increased significantly above background levels. The facility will provide peak electricity and will operate an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 hours a year, mainly during the hot summer months.
Price said grading work has already begun on the site and will continue for several weeks. Actual construction could begin as early as June, pending the issuance of an air permit by the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD). The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a federal agency expected to provide a loan guarantee for the project, recently determined through an environmental assessment that the facility would have no significant impact on the environment.
In conjunction with its announcement on the energy project, Oglethorpe Power also announced that it will make donations to several organizations within Talbot County. The organizations are: the Talbot County School System, the Talbot County Literacy Council, the Talbot County Library, the Downtown Talbotton Revitalization Project and the Box Springs Volunteer Fire Department. Amounts and details will be announced later.
Oglethorpe Power Corporation is the not-for-profit power supplier to 39 of Georgia's 42 customer-owned EMCs. These EMCs serve more than 3.4 million Georgians in about two-thirds of the state's land area. Oglethorpe Power is based in Tucker, Ga.
SOURCE: Oglethorpe Power Corporation