Southern Company (SO) is reducing its coal fuming and making the rest comply with EPA regulations, and is surprised to discover that won’t cost nearly as much or take nearly as long as it complained only 8 months ago. But remember SO isn’t even abandoning coal and is shifting to big-plant baseload natural gas and nuclear while avoiding distributed solar and wind power.
Cassandra Sweet wrote for Dow Jones and the WSJ 25 July 2012, 2nd UPDATE: Southern Co. Second-Quarter Profit Up as Economy Improves,
Southern Co. plans to shut down about 4,000 megawatts of older, coal-fired power plants to comply with stricter federal pollution rules.
How much coal generation is that? SO’s Plant Scherer near Juliette, Georgia, the largest power plant in the western hemisphere, burning 12 million tons of Wyoming coal every year, is the “nation’s No. 1 producer of carbon dioxide — the heat-trapping gas that is held chiefly responsible in models of global warming” (number two is SO’s Plant Bowen near Cartersville and number three is SO’s Plant Miller in Quinton, Alabama). Each of Plant Scherer’s four plants is rated at 880 megawatts, or 3520 MW total. But don’t get your hopes up: one of those four plants is owned by Florida Power and Light and JEA of Jacksonville, Florida. Why should Florida power companies want to shut down a plant that leaves the pollution in Georgia while exporting the power to Florida?