Georgia Power Announces Third Coal Ash Reuse Plan

Dave Williams

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

Capitol Beat is a nonprofit news service operated by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Georgia. For more information visit

Georgia Power is expanding its coal ash beneficial reuse program to Plant Branch near Milledgeville, the Atlanta-based utility announced Wednesday.

Working in partnership with Pennsylvania-based Eco Material Technologies, Georgia Power expects to start construction later this year on an ash processing facility at Plant Branch, a coal-fired power plant the company retired back in 2015.

The facility is expected to be online in 2026 and will process ash that is excavated from the onsite ash ponds. Once fully operational, it will produce about 600,000 dry tons of marketable ash each year.

In total, throughout the project’s 15-year duration, more than eight million tons of ash will be excavated and processed to be used in the concrete ready-mix market. Coal ash has been found to add strength and durability to concrete.

“At Georgia Power … we work every day to be innovators in the industry, reduce our environmental impact, and find ways to deliver additional value for our customers,” said Jennifer McNelly, vice president of environmental affairs for the utility.

“With this latest beneficial reuse project at Plant Branch, we are doing just that. In addition to reducing the amount of ash going to a landfill and complementing our closure plans, projects such as this bring additional jobs and positive economic impact for the local community.”

The Plant Branch coal ash reuse project is the third for Georgia Power. In 2020, the company announced its first reuse project at Plant Mitchell near Camilla.

As of July, about 500,000 tons of ash had been removed from the site to help create Portland cement, with about two million tons planned for removal during the next several years.

Last year, Georgia Power announced a beneficial reuse project at Plant Bowen near Cartersville, which remains one of the largest of its kind in the United States. Significant construction has been completed since September 2022, with the project expected to start removing ash for use in ready-mix concrete next year.

The coal ash reuse projects stem from Georgia Power’s plan to close all 29 of its ash ponds. Ash is to be excavated and removed from 19 of those ponds, while the other 10 are due to be closed in place.

Environmental advocates have complained that some of the ponds that will remain contain coal ash in contact with groundwater in violation of a 2015 federal rule.

However, Georgia Power officials say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has authorized Georgia’s coal ash permit program to operate separately from the federal program, one of only three states authorized to do so.