Plant Vogtle Becomes Largest Clean Energy Generator in the US

May 1, 2024
The plant’s fourth unit, which went billions over budget, recently went online and can power 500,000 homes on its own

Georgia’s Plant Vogtle has been named the largest generator of clean energy in the country after its fourth unit entered commercial service at the end of April 2024. It is the last of the constructed units to come online and can power half a million homes and businesses for 60 to 80 years, according to the release. 

The plant, named after former Alabama Power and Southern Company board chairman Alvin Vogtle, is located in Waynesboro, Georgia, and is operated by Southern Nuclear. However, it’s owned by multiple entities, including Georgia Power, Dalton Utilities, and Oglethorpe Power. The site uses pressurized water reactors (PWRs) for electricity generation, and those PWRs run on uranium fuel that produces steam to drive the generators’ turbines. 

“The new Vogtle units are a key piece of our strategy to meet the energy needs of our customers not only tomorrow, but 20 years from now,” said Kim Greene, Chairman, President, and CEO of Georgia Power.

The news comes roughly nine months after Unit 3 was put in service on July 31, 2023. At the time, it was the country’s first newly constructed nuclear unit in nearly 30 years. The first two units at Plant Vogtle were completed in 1987 and 1989, and construction started on Units 3 and 4 in 2009. 

Originally, Units 3 and 4 were scheduled to start operation in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but construction fell behind schedule, causing the estimated cost of the project to go from $14 billion to over $30 billion.

While Units 1 and 2 have a capacity of 2,430 MW, Units 3 and 4 were designed with 2,234 MW of capacity. With all four reactors functional, Plant Vogtle is expected to produce more than 30 million MW hours annually while preventing 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly. 

25% of Georgia Power’s electricity generation comes from Vogtle and Georgia’s other nuclear site, Plant Hatch, in Appling County.