While coal is vital as a fuel to generate electricity, it results in large quantities of ash and gypsum (commonly referred to as coal-combustion byproducts, or CCBs). To minimize this environmental impact, Georgia Power promotes reuse of significant amounts of these materials. This safe and beneficial use of CCBs not only conserves Georgia's natural resources, but also reduces the amount to be stored in landfills and ash ponds at power plants.
When coal is burned to make steam that drives electric generators, ash, a noncombustible mineral matter, is left behind and can be recycled for concrete, road-building and other beneficial uses. The biggest and most valuable use of ash is as a concrete component. It acts like "glue" that holds concrete together. By using ash, concrete is ultimately stronger, more durable and less expensive.
Another type of CCB that Georgia Power recycles is gypsum, a byproduct from operating an emission- control technology called scrubbers at certain electric-generating plants. The most common uses for gypsum are as ingredients in commercial wallboard and cement manufacturing.
Typically, more than one-third of Georgia Power's CCBs are sold for reuse annually; the reuse level for 2014 reached 43 percent. In addition to the environmental benefits derived, in 2014 Georgia Power and our customers also benefited financially from the $7.25 million in revenue generated and the $12.85 million avoided in disposal costs.
Georgia Power constantly looks for new opportunities to increase uses of these byproducts. Georgia Power, through our parent company, Southern Company, is involved in several major initiatives to develop new and improved uses of CCBs. Safe and beneficial reuse of CCBs reduces the amount that must be stored at power plants or in landfills; therefore, the environmental impact and costs to ratepayers of large-volume storage are reduced. An extensive system is in place to meet or exceed all regulations governing CCB management and ensure safe plant operation.
Learn more about CCR Rule Compliance Data and Information.Back to Top ↑