Clean energy group: Vogtle nuke will cost $29B, should be abandoned

Dive Brief:

  • The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) estimates the cost of Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear project will rise by $9 billion to $29 billion by the time it is completed, according to Reuters.

  • SACE, a clean energy group opposed to the nuclear project, says its estimate is based on a report made by utility consultants to the Georgia Public Service Commission.

  • The report uses a scenario in which the Vogtle project is further delayed by the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the project’s contractor, and comes online in 2022, three years behind schedule.

Dive Insight:

Westinghouse’s bankruptcy has complicated and imperiled Georgia Power’s Vogtle project. The nuclear plant expansion was already behind schedule and over budget when Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy court protection in March, setting off months of protracted negotiations over how to finish the plant. 

Southern Co., Georgia Power’s corporate parent, earlier this month reached an agreement with Westinghouse to complete the project that includes payment of a $3.68 billion guarantee by Toshiba, Westinghouse’s parent company, to Southern.

But the project still faces major hurdles. A report filed by two ratepayer advocate consultants to the Georgia Public Service Commission found that completing the project is not economic and recommended that it abandoned.

Georgia Power officials say the utility is working with project co-owners to develop a full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete analysis. The utility "will work with the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for our customers," CEO and President Paul Boyers said last week, which could include abandoning the project.

SACE agrees with the consultants' conclusion that the plant should not be finished.

“How long is it going to take for Southern Co to pull the plug?" Sara Barczak of SACE told Reuters.

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Filed Under: Generation Regulation & Policy Technology
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