Plant Vogtle Unit 4 Powers Up Georgia

vogtle unit 4 with unit 3 in the background

The operationalization of Plant Vogtle’s Unit 4 (foreground) is a milestone for the state and the greater U.S. in its pursuit of sustainable and dependable nuclear energy solutions. (Picture Credit: 2024 Georgia Power Company)

by | Apr 30, 2024

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Georgia Power has announced the commencement of commercial operations for Plant Vogtle’s Unit 4, marking a significant advancement in clean energy production for Georgia. This new unit is poised to supply electricity to approximately 500,000 homes and businesses, promising reliable, emission-free energy for the next 60 to 80 years. Following closely behind Unit 3, which began operations on July 31, 2023, this development brings Plant Vogtle’s total operational units to four, solidifying its status as the largest clean energy producer in the United States.

Plant Vogtle is expected to generate over 30 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The plant epitomizes the pinnacle of zero-emission baseload energy sources, operated by Southern Nuclear on behalf of co-owners, including Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities. In 2023 alone, nuclear energy contributed over 25% of the total power generation for Georgia Power, which includes contributions from both Plant Vogtle and Plant Hatch located in Baxley, Georgia.

The expansion of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 was initially greenlit by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) under the rigorous Integrated Resource Plan, in a regulatory process unfolding every three years. This plan outlines the company’s long-term approach to providing clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy. The ongoing expansion is part of a broader strategy that has also propelled significant advances in renewable energy and innovative technologies, such as battery energy storage within the state.

Read more about Plant Vogtle, Georgia Power’s Nuclear Power Plant

Georgia Power’s chairman, president, and CEO, Kim Greene, discussed the strategic importance of the new Vogtle units in meeting Georgia’s burgeoning energy demands. Greene highlighted the extensive planning and dedication that culminated in the completion of these first new nuclear units constructed in the U.S. in over three decades, describing it as a pivotal long-term investment for the state’s prosperity.

The economic impact of constructing these new units at Plant Vogtle extends well beyond clean energy production. The project has injected billions of dollars into the local economy and created approximately 800 permanent jobs. At its peak, the construction phase employed over 9,000 workers, including a diverse cadre of engineers, electricians, and other skilled tradespeople.

Echoing Greene’s sentiments, Chris Womack, chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Company, celebrated the completion as a landmark achievement that underscores the United States’ leadership in nuclear technology and its commitment to enhancing energy reliability, resilience, and affordability on a global scale.

Brendan Bechtel, chairman and CEO of Bechtel, reflected on the broader implications for the U.S. nuclear industry. He noted, “Continuing to grow America’s civilian nuclear sector, including investments in both established and next-generation reactor technology, can reestablish the U.S. as the responsible partner of choice for new nuclear energy in the decades ahead. The accomplishment this week at Vogtle brings us closer to that goal.”

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