Co-op to build Plant Washington breaks up, still supports plant

hduncan@macon.comApril 30, 2013 

The last four Middle Georgia electric cooperatives that were part of Power4Georgians are no longer partners in the venture to build a coal-fired power plant near Sandersville.

But they continue to support the project and plan to purchase electricity from the 850-megawatt Plant Washington once it’s built, spokesman Dean Alford said Tuesday.

When it was founded five years ago, Power4Georgians consisted of 10 Georgia electric cooperatives. Over time, the other EMCs pulled out, with half citing concerns that coal was no longer a cost-effective energy source.

Alford, who is president and CEO of the plant’s developer Allied Energy Services, has said the initial investments of the EMCs would pay off in favorable power purchase agreements even after the partnerships ended.

The final four cooperatives – Thomaston-based Upson EMC, Sandersville-based Washington EMC, Jackson-based Central Georgia EMC and Covington-based Snapping Shoals EMC – stopped being partners April 12, said Alford and Neil Trice, CEO of Upson EMC.

“We are out of it,” Trice said. “The goal was always to get the permits and then turn them over… We never intended to build the plant, so we didn’t want to go into construction mode.”

Trice declined to say whether the EMCs were bought out, but said they settled with Taylor Energy Fund on April 12 and are now in the process of negotiating power purchase agreements.

Taylor Energy Fund, managed by Colorado investor Tim Taylor, took over pre-construction financing costs last July. Taylor Energy first stepped in a year ago to replace Cobb Energy’s 40 percent stake in the project after that EMC pulled out.

Alford said Taylor remains a member of Power4Georgians. But he declined to name any of the other members or say how many there are. Several weeks ago Alford was trying to line up construction financing. He said he had enough potential partners to cover the remaining costs of the estimated $2.1 billion plant.

In a prepared statement released by Power4Georgians, George Weaver, president and CEO of Central Georgia EMC, said, “Plant Washington will generate a significant economic boost to the state and local economy. The EMCs look forward to Taylor Energy Fund and its investors moving this project forward.”

Charles Lee, executive director of the Development Authority of Washington County, said the authority is still negotiating incentives for Plant Washington. The authority is considering offering tax abatements and issuing bonds for the project.

Lee said Power4Georgians has not asked for any more incentives than what the authority offered to the two existing power plants that located in the county about a decade ago. They received a 37 percent abatement in taxes over a period of years, he said.

Plant Washington’s environmental permits were finalized about a year ago. Power4Georgians signed contracts about April 12 with a boiler manufacturer and a construction company to erect the plant, which is projected to create 200 to 300 permanent jobs.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer S. Heather Duncan, call 744-4225.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service