The recent announcements that the nation is officially in a recession, 500,000 jobs were lost in November, and national unemployment is projected to reach 9 percent brought home to everyone that the nation is going through tough economic times.
In many Georgia counties, unemployment has already reached 9-12 percent, with economic recovery projected to be a year or two away. Three power-plant projects already in the permitting process can pump over $10 billion into the state’s economy and create more than 1,100 permanent jobs, according to published news reports. In addition, there would be about 3,000 construction jobs required during the three to five years needed to build the facilities.
Two advanced-design Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are planned for Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro in Burke County, and will be among the first additions to the nation’s nuclear power supply in more than 35 years. These will generate 2,200 megawatts to help replace the electricity produced by 135 nuclear power units that will be approaching the end of their operational lives within the next 25 years.
Nuclear generation provides about 20 percent of the nation’s power.
Two new, high-efficiency coal-fired power plants, which will utilize modern technologies to markedly reduce emissions, are planned for Early County (the Longleaf Plant) and Washington County near Sandersville. The Longleaf Plant will generate 1,200 megawatts while Plant Washington will produce 850.
According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, coal currently supplies about 63 percent of Georgia’s electricity and more than 50 percent of the nation’s power. It is our most abundant domestic energy resource.
These three long-lived projects will pump needed money and jobs into parts of the state that were struggling even before the current economic downtown. They would prepare the state for a faster economic recovery without needing a taxpayer bailout that must someday be repaid.
William Hovey Smith
Editor’s note: Smith is a former geologist.