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Energy Sources

The Role of Coal in Powering Georgia

Coal accounted for 62 percent of Georgia Power's energy portfolio in 2011 and was once the most-used electric power source in the United States. Currently, power generated from coal energy is more economically affordable than most other methods. In our role as stewards of our environment, Georgia Power has invested significantly in cleaner emission technology and development of alternative energy sources like solar and nuclear power.


Environmental Efforts

Georgia Power is in the midst of $6 billion program to equip our coal-fired power plants with the latest environmental controls to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. By 2015, our investments will have decreased emissions of sulfur dioxide by 93 percent, nitrogen oxides by 85 percent and mercury by 75 percent from 1990 levels. See the progress we've made in improving air quality.

As it becomes feasible, Georgia Power is working to convert some coal plants to natural gas. Read about the conversion of Plant McDonough from coal to natural gas.

Georgia Power promotes reuse of significant amounts of waste from coal-related power generation, such as ash and other coal combustion byproducts (CCB). CCBs have proven to be economical, high-quality resources for concrete products, construction, agriculture, and materials industries. The materials often exceed the performance of natural alternatives or those that are man-made. Coal ash can be recycled for other uses to all the conservation of other scarce natural resources.

In 2008, Georgia Power engaged in a joint effort with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Transportation to evaluate the use of approximately 31,000 tons of coal ash as fill for a road construction project in Rome, Ga. Read more about how we manage waste and CCB.

From Plants to Power

Coal is formed by chemical changes to plant material over a period of many years, converting it to combustible rock composed of carbon and other elements like oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur and nitrogen. Coal is extracted from the ground and transported to Georgia from other states.

Like many fossil fuels, coal is generally burned to heat water and create steam, which in turn generates power and moves turbines to create electricity. Explore Learning Power to learn more about how plants work.

Watch a short video on generating electricity from coal.

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Did You Know?

Georgia Power owns 15 lakes for hydroelectricity generation which, combined, offer thousands of acres of shoreline with public access areas. Enjoy everything from swimming to hiking trails, and see the beauty of our state.
Visit Lakes & Recreation

Did You Know?

Across the state, Georgia Power owns a network of 18 generating plants and 19 hydroelectric dams. Learn more about our generating plants.

Energy Education for Kids

Have fun learning about electricity and power companies at our educational website, Learning Power.

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