Plant Ben Hill: Another CANCELLED Coal-fired Plant for Georgia

April 2012: A settlement is reached with Power4Georgians in which the consortium agrees it will not build coal-fired Plant Ben Hill.

In 2008, a private consortium of electric cooperatives, Power4Georgians (P4G), announced plans to develop a second 850-megawatt coal-fired plant in Georgia, in addition to Plant Washington, north of Sandersville in middle Georgia. Its second plant would have been near Fitzgerald in south-central Ben Hill County. Located on the Ocmulgee River, proposed Plant Ben Hill’s coal-burning technology would have required enormous water resources in the production of electricity and would have emitted dangerous pollutants affecting the immediate area as well as downstream and upwind communities.

Power4Georgians, LLC, originially comprised of 10 electric membership corporations (EMCs), now only has three EMCs remaining. They are: Central Georgia EMC (south metro Atlanta, north Macon area); Snapping Shoals EMC (southeast Atlanta metro area); and Washington EMC (Sandersville area, Washington County).  Conservative cost estimates for construction of both proposed coal-burning plants is more than $4.6 billion.

Organizations across Georgia also opposed the plant due to concerns over pollution and water loss.

Latest Update:

April 2012:  A settlement is reached with Power4Georgians in which the consortium agrees it will not build coal-fired Plant Ben Hill.

January 2012:  Cobb EMC, considered the lynchpin in the proposed coal-fired Plant Ben Hill and Plant Washington, announced it will no longer participate in the effort to build Plant Washington.

September 2010: GreenLaw sent a letter to all of the County Commissioners countering a local attorney's erroneous pronouncement that there was nothing that the local community could do to weigh in on the proposed coal plant.  See the letter here.  However, before a coal plant can be built, Power4Georgians has to obtain a series of environmental permits from the state Environmental Protection Division.  As of September 2011, there is no record that they have submitted those applications. 

December 2009:  GreenLaw lets county commissioners know that they have the power to stop this coal plant. Led by Cobb EMC to fuel power for Atlanta, Power4Georgians is pursuing yet another coal plant in rural Georgia.  This plant is expected to have emissions similar to those of Plant Washington (proposed for Sandersville, Georgia) and also be a guzzler of our state's public water resources.