Reducing Emissions

Georgia Power has a long history of reducing emissions from our power plants while still meeting the growing energy needs of the fastest-growing states in the United States. We have invested over $5 billion in environmental controls on our power plants to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides,  mercury, and other air pollutants. 

Emissions

Georgia Power's environmental investments have decreased emissions of sulfur dioxide by more than 95 percent, nitrogen oxides by more than 90 percent and mercury by about 95 percent.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

What is it? – SO2 comes from the sulfur found naturally in coal when it is burned in a boiler to produce electricity.

Solution – Dramatic reductions resulted in the past several years as the result of installing "scrubbers" on our largest coal-fired power plants. Scrubbers are systems that remove SO2 through a chemical reaction with limestone that produces gypsum - a material that has several uses, such as the production of wallboard or fertilizer. Georgia Power has installed scrubbers at plants Bowen, Hammond, Wansley and Scherer.

 

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

What is it?  – NOx emissions result from the combustion of any material, including coal, gasoline, natural gas or even leaves in your yard.

Solution – Georgia Power has made significant investments to reduce its emissions of NOx through the use of various technologies, including low NOx burners, and combustion air controls, such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems. SCRs work by adding ammonia to the flue gas exiting the boiler, where a catalyzed chemical reaction breaks down the nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and water.

Georgia Power has installed and operates SCRs at coal-fired plants Bowen, Hammond, Scherer and Wansley, as well as natural gas-fired plants McIntosh Combined Cycle and McDonough Combined Cycle.

 

Mercury

What is it? – Mercury is a trace impurity in coal that is released when coal is burned.

Solution – The combination of scrubbers (to reduce SO2) and SCRs (to remove NOx) also removes significant amounts of mercury at coal-fired power plants. Georgia Power also operates baghouses to reduce mercury at Plant Scherer and Bowen, whereby emission gases are filtered through 20,000 fabric bags that are 26 feet long and approximately 5 inches around.

Georgia Power has also installed additional mercury emission controls at many of our power plants in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.  These systems have reduced Georgia Power's mercury emissions by about 95 percent since 2005. 

Fleet Enhancements

Georgia Power is committed to providing cleaner, greener and smarter company vehicles to reduce our impact on the environment, from the hybrids used within our marketing organization to electric forklifts and electric carts by both headquarters and our plants. With no engine maintenance issues, 70-80 percent lower fuel costs and no engine or exhaust noise, electric forklift technology can lift your business into increased savings and performance.

We have also instituted idle-reduction plans for our entire fleet.

Drive Electric

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