Oglethorpe Power Corporation will construct a new 605-megawatt, natural-gas-powered "combined-cycle" generating facility in Georgia to help meet the growing energy needs of its members, the company announced on March 11. The corporation recently received final approval from its member EMCs to proceed with the project.

The facility, which represents a capital investment of about $750 million (including interest during construction), will use natural gas to produce electricity and will gain additional efficiency by capturing waste heat from the combustion process and using it to generate more power. The final location for the project has not yet been determined. However, land already owned by Oglethorpe in Monroe County, as well as several other unspecified sites, will be considered.

Oglethorpe Power chief operating officer Mike Price said combined cycle facilities offer many benefits, including very high efficiency, low emissions and good track records for reliability.

"We expect this facility to be an outstanding addition to our power generating portfolio, providing clean, reliable electricity for our member owners throughout the state," Price said.

Over the coming months, Oglethorpe Power will be evaluating several potential sites for the plant, then will make a decision on a preferred location. Construction on the facility would begin in 2013, and the plant would become operational in 2015. About 22 full-time employees would operate the facility. In addition, up to 250 workers would be needed during the approximately 30-month construction period.

About Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC) is the nation's largest power supply cooperative, with approximately $6 billion in assets serving 39 Electric Membership Corporations which, collectively, provide electricity to more than 4 million Georgia citizens. A proponent of conscientious energy development and use, OPC balances reliable and affordable energy with environmental responsibility and has an outstanding record of regulatory compliance. Its diverse energy portfolio includes natural gas, hydroelectric, coal and nuclear generating plants with a combined capacity of approximately 5,500 megawatts (MW), as well as purchased power. OPC was established in 1974 and is owned by its 39 member systems. It is headquartered in Tucker, Ga.