McDonough Steam Generating Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Jack McDonough Steam Generating Plant is a 2,520 MW gas-fired power station owned and operated by Southern Company near Smyrna, Georgia.

In August, 2009, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that Georgia Power is moving ahead with plans to replace the coal-fired McDonough Steam Generating Plant with a natural gas-fired plant and switch its Mitchell Steam Generating Plant near Albany, Ga., from coal to wood chips.[1]

The coal-fired power station was retired in 2011-2012.[2]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Georgia Power Company
  • Parent Company: Southern Company
  • Location: 5551 South Cobb Dr., Smyrna, GA 30080
  • Coordinates: 33.82835, -84.47163 (exact)
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 2,520 MW
    • G104: Gas-fired combined cycle, 840 MW (start-up in 2011)[3][4]
    • G105: Gas-fired combined cycle, 840 MW (start-up in 2012)[3][4]
    • G106: Gas-fired combined cycle, 840 MW (start-up in 2012)[3][4]
  • Gross generating capacity (retired): 598 MW
    • Unit 1: Coal-fired, 299 MW (start-up in 1963, retired 2012)
    • Unit 2: Coal-fired, 299 MW (start-up in 1964, retired 2011)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Sources (2009)[5]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 3,705,401 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 28,835 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 4,286 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 116 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from McDonough Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from McDonough Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 51 $380,000,000
Heart attacks 72 $7,900,000
Asthma attacks 880 $46,000
Hospital admissions 37 $860,000
Chronic bronchitis 32 $14,000,000
Asthma ER visits 53 $20,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

McDonough ranked 84th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[8] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[9]

McDonough Steam Generating Plant ranked number 84 on the list, with 318,051 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Legislative issues

House Bill 276, proposed by Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), would put a 5-year moratorium on building new coal plants and eliminate the burning of Appalachian coal mined by mountaintop removal by mid-2016. The Appalachian Mountain Preservation Act would gradually prohibit Georgia coal consumers from using Central Appalachian mountaintop removal beginning in 2011. The bill is backed by environmental groups including Appalachian Voices but received strong opposition from POWER4Georgians, a coalition of 10 electric co-operatives seeking to build a $2 billion 850-megawatt supercritical coal plant in Washington County.[10][11]

Citizen groups

Focus the Nation: Valdosta State University

Articles and Resources


  1. Dave Flessner, "TVA May Shutter Aging Coal Plants," Chattanooga Times Free Press, August 24, 2009
  2. Form EIA-860 Data - Schedule 3, Generator Data, US EIA, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Plant McDonough-Atkinson, Georgia Power, accessed Sep 10, 2021
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), November 2019
  5. Energy Information Administration Form 923 for 2009
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  9. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  10. "Georgia bill proposes moratorium on new coal plants," Reuters, February 4, 2009.
  11. Margaret Newkirk, "Bill would restrict coal power plants," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2009.

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