A few residents from Calhoun and members of MEAG recently toured plant Vogtle to see the progress made on the two additional reactors being built. Front row left to right: Hunter Hammond, Calhoun resident and Georgia Tech graduate; Matt Barton, Calhoun City Council; David Hammond, Calhoun City Council; Jeff Defoor, Calhoun Utilities Electric Department General Manager; Stuart Jones, MEAG Senior Regional Manager. Back row left to right: Jerry Ranali, MEAG onsite manager for plant Vogtle; Mike Day, Calhoun Utilities Electric Department Operations Manager.slideshow The City of Calhoun Electric Utilities receives the majority of its power from nuclear power.
During the city council meeting on Monday, July 8 when council member David Hammond gave his presentation on nuclear energy the mix in Calhoun at that time was 47 percent nuclear, nine percent gas, three percent hydroelectric, 33 percent coal and eight percent from the market.
These numbers change often based on what customers are consuming, but the primary sources are nuclear and coal. Units of energy are dispatched at the most cost efficient level to match the load requirements, according to Director of Calhoun Electric Utilities Jeff Defoor.
?With diversity you have a way of leveraging your cost,? Hammond said.
Through a partnership with Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Calhoun receives the nuclear power from two nuclear plants in Georgia. One of those being Vogtle, which is on the verge of putting two more nuclear reactors online in 2017 or 2018.
?Make no mistake, President Obama?s carbon standards directive to the EPA will have a large impact on fossil fuels options made available to not only our community, but to the nation as a whole. Our strategic partnership with clean nuclear energy has already benefited Calhoun and will continue to do so as our country navigates these uncertain changes in energy,? Hammond said.
The new reactors are funded through a $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee that promises the federal government assumes a company?s debt if the company defaults. The loan was conditionally granted in Feb. 2010. However, the details were never agreed on, according to an article by the Augusta Chronicle.
It reports that since Feb. 2010 there have been extensions that have expired, the most recent being June 30, with no formal agreement in place.
Jeannice M.W. Hall, a Southern Co. spokesperson, told the Augusta Chronicle that the new extension sets a Sept. 30 deadline for completing the loan guarantee arrangements.
She said there had been constructive dialogue in the negotiations between the company and the Department of Energy, and she is cautiously optimistic as they work with the DOE.
?I feel very positive about the negotiations. We are set with our rates until 2015, at that point MEAG will then analyze the best federally supported and/or privately funded opportunities to guarantee a low cost payment plan again. I cannot express how beneficial this partnership is with Vogtle,? Hammond said.
Details of the ongoing negotiations are confidential.
Hall is quoted by the Augusta Chronicle saying, ?Loan guarantees were developed to provide an incentive for new nuclear development in the U.S. We are committed to financing options that will serve the best interest of our customers, and ? as long as the terms and conditions of DOE loan guarantees serve those interest ? we will continue to pursue that option.?
President of Taxpayers for Common Sense Ryan Alexander, a critic of the federal loan guarantee program, told the Augusta Chronicle the nuclear expansion has made progress. It has also generated lawsuits, delays and cost overruns that Alexander believes will continue to emerge and possibly add billions of dollars its original cost estimate.
Of the $8.3 billion, Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent with up to $3.46 billion in the project, Oglethorpe owns 30 percent with up to $3.05 billion in the project, and MEAG owns 22.7 percent with up to $1.8 billion in the project. The remaining 1.6 percent is owned by Dalton Utilities.
Calhoun?s part, as a partner in MEAG, is $170 million over the next 60 years, according to Hammond. However, Calhoun has already sold off the energy it won?t use at the moment from the plant for $56 million.
Larry Vickery, director of utilities, said the money would be funded through bonds sold off by MEAG, and Calhoun taxpayers will not be directly affected.