New Projects, Nuclear, Reactors

MEAG Power completes $619M debt offering to fund Vogtle nuclear expansion

The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, or MEAG Power, has completed its public debt offer raising $619 million which will substantially fund its share of the anticipated costs for completing the controversial Vogtle Units 3 and 4 nuclear project.

MEAG Power is one of four owners involved in the long, slow work to add two reactors to the Vogtle plant in Waynesboro, GA. The two units will consist of two 1,100-MW Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors.

The Vogtle expansion was first approved in 2006 and construction began six years ago. It has fallen years behind schedule and billions of dollars over original estimates, but the owners hope to complete it in the first half of the next decade.

SPJV is the wholly owned affiliate of MEAG Power which is being funded to complete the work. The output related to SPJV’s ownership share is subject to a 20-year power purchase agreement between MEAG Power and purchaser JEA (Jacksonville Electric Authority).

“We’re pleased to have reached this significant milestone in the financing of the plant expansion,” said Jim Fuller, MEAG Power’s President and CEO. “We concluded that a limited public offering would be an optimal means to access the capital markets both because of the availability of low-cost financing and because it would involve only sophisticated investors capable of accurately assessing the viability of the offering. We were particularly pleased that this offering was over-subscribed by the investment community reflecting strong support for the financial viability of the Vogtle Project.”

Two years ago, MEAG Power reported it might need about $1.4 billion in financing to help complete the Vogtle expansion. Project contractor Westinghouse filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2017.

Late last year, the project appeared in jeopardy after Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power, the project’s biggest owner, revised its cost estimates up by $1 billion.

JEA urged MEAG not to continue work on the project, while the Georgia General Assembly also asked Georgia Power to cap its costs. The four owners-Georgia Power, MEAG, Oglethorpe Power and Dalton Utilities-opted to forge ahead.

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration made good on approving $3.1 billion in loan guarantees for the Vogtle work. This summer, the project developers also announced construction milestones such as the completion of middle containment vessel ring for Unit 4 and the concrete poured for the Unit 3 shield building.

If and when completed, Vogtle units 3 and 4 will be the first new nuclear capacity brought online in many years.