Yates Steam Generating Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Yates Steam Electric Generating Plant was a 1,487.3-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by Southern Company near Newnan, Georgia. The coal plant was retired in 2015.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Georgia Power Company
  • Parent Company: Southern Company
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,487.3 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 122.5 MW (1950), Unit 2: 122.5 MW (1950), Unit 3: 122.5 MW (1952), Unit 4: 156.2 MW (1957), Unit 5: 156.2 MW (1958), Unit 6: 403.7 MW (1974), Unit 7: 403.7 MW (1974)
  • Location: 708 Dyer Rd., Newnan, GA 30263
  • GPS Coordinates: 33.462389, -84.89861
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Sources: Sugar Camp Mine (Forsight)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: In 2015, units 1-5 were retired and units 6-7 were converted to natural gas.[2][3]

Proposed retirement

On January 7, 2013, Georgia Power said it plans to seek approval from Georgia regulators to retire 15 coal-, oil- and natural gas-fired power plants in the state, totaling 2,061 megawatts (MW). The coal plants would include units 1-5 at Plant Yates in Coweta County. The company said it expects to ask to retire the units by the April 16, 2015, effective date of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).[4]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 7,496,074 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 75,476 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 12,206 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 398 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Yates 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.[5] 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.[6]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 110 $780,000,000
Heart attacks 150 $16,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,800 $96,000
Hospital admissions 76 $1,800,000
Chronic bronchitis 66 $29,000,000
Asthma ER visits 110 $41,000

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

Air pollution violations

Yates violates the national health standard for fine particles. The county also exceeds the federal standard for ozone, the main ingredient of smog. Yates also has been in violation of a state clean air plan for almost three years.[7]

Yates ranked 74th 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]

Yates Steam Generating Plant ranked number 74 on the list, with 376,610 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Southern Company abandons carbon capture and storage project

In December 2009, Southern Company received a $295 million grant from the Department of Energy to retrofit 160MW at the Barry Steam Plant for carbon capture. The company plants to compress and transport the CO2 through a pipeline and store up to one million metric tons per year in deep saline formations. The company will also explore using the captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.[10]

However, on March 1, 2010 it was announced that Southern Company had abandoned its $700 million carbon capture project at the Barry Steam Plant. Company spokesperson Steve Higginbottom said, "It's really about the efficient deployment of resources. Really, we felt it was in the best interest of our customers and shareholders to not move forward with the expanded CCS project at Plant Barry." He added, "The current economic conditions also factored into the decision."[11]

Later in September 2010, Southern Company reported that they had captured carbon emissions at its Yates Steam Generating Plant for the first time and then released it during a pilot project. The technology uses a solvent to remove carbon gas from emissions. The company stated that while the they released the captured carbon at Yates, it will be catching carbon and storing it underground at its Barry Steam Plant in 2011.[12]

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.[13][14]

Citizen groups

Focus the Nation: Valdosta State University

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 923 2015" EIA 923 2015.
  2. "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory" eia.gov, 860m March 2020
  3. "860 Generator Database" eia.gov, 860 2015
  4. "Georgia Power to close 15 coal, oil units," AJC, Jan. 7, 2013.
  5. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  6. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  7. Brett Israel, "Coal's slipping grip: Death of a Georgia coal plant," EHN, July 2, 2013.
  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. "Laura Miller gets her clean coal grant," Dallas News, December 4, 2009.
  11. " Daniel Kessler Treehugger.com March, 1 2010.
  12. "Southern captures carbon emissions for first time" Margaret Newkirk, Atlanta Journal-Constitution September 23, 2010
  13. "Georgia bill proposes moratorium on new coal plants," Reuters, February 4, 2009.
  14. Margaret Newkirk, "Bill would restrict coal power plants," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2009.

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