LS Power to Continue Early County Longleaf Coal-fired Plant Without Dynegy
Atlanta, GA (January 5, 2009) The first news of 2009 for coal plants sounded like a death knell, and that was music to the ears of Georgians working for new, cleaner, smarter energy. On January 2, Dynegy, Inc., one of the nation’s main merchant coal energy producers, announced that it was pulling out of its agreement with New-Jersey-based LS Power to build four coal-fired power plants, including the Longleaf Energy Station proposed for Early County, Georgia. Dynegy says it will still try to build the two plants it has under construction in Arizona and Texas.
“This news affirms what financial analysts have known for quite some time – coal is not a wise investment,” said Justine Thompson, Executive Director of GreenLaw. “And while burning coal hurts our financial future, the health of Georgians will suffer even more. Financial losses cannot be compared to the burden placed on Georgians who would be forced to breathe in harmful levels of pollutants every day.”
GreenLaw attorneys, representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and Sierra Club, have challenged the Dynegy/LS Power permit which would allow the construction of a 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus. On June 30, 2008, GreenLaw attorney’s scored a major victory when Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore invalidated the permit. Among the many flaws found in the permit, the Judge issued the first ruling nationwide that requires limits on the amount of carbon dioxide a coal-fired power plant can emit. Dynegy/LS Power challenged that decision which is currently before the Georgia Court of Appeals. LS Power has stated that it will continue with its plans to build the Longleaf plant.
“We are deeply excited about this development, and are hopeful that LS Power will also see the bad business decision that the plant represents. The financial risks and health repercussions from pollution are so great from the proposed Longleaf Plant, that it is not wise to build it,” said Bobby McLendon, chair of Friends of the Chattahoochee.
According to the Dynegy press release, “LS Power will receive approximately $19 million in cash during the first quarter 2009 to reflect the relative value of assets exchanged.” Moreover “[t]he development landscape has changed significantly since we agreed to enter into the development joint venture with LS Power in the fall of 2006,” said Bruce A. Williamson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dynegy Inc. “Today, the development of new generation is increasingly marked by barriers to entry including external credit and regulatory factors that make development much more uncertain. In light of these market circumstances, Dynegy has elected to focus development activities and investments around our own portfolio where we control the option to develop and can manage the costs being incurred more closely," continued Williamson.
Justine Thompson, GreenLaw, (404) 659-3122
Beth Cope, Talking Heads Media, (404) 786-0503
Midge Sweet, Georgians for Smart Energy, (404) 667-4476