Southern gets another extension in DOE, Vogtle loan guarantee talks

Southern (NYSE:SO) officials confirmed Oct. 4 that subsidiary Georgia Power has gotten a fourth extension in the company’s ongoing talks with the Department of Energy for a federal loan guarantee for construction of Vogtle nuclear units 3 and 4 being built in Waynesboro, Ga.

The DOE’s deadline for the Vogtle 3 and 4 loan guarantee conditional commitment has been extended to Dec. 31, a Southern spokesperson said in an email to GenerationHub.

“There continues to be constructive dialogue in the loan guarantee negotiations between the company and the Department of Energy, and we are cautiously optimistic as we work toward the December deadline,” the Southern spokesperson said.

A tentative agreement was reached between the company and DOE during the first term of the Obama administration. The parties have been wrangling over terms of the loan agreement since then. Southern continues to hope that a final agreement will be reached with DOE – although it says the U.S. loan guarantee is not critical.

The loan guarantee development is the second bit of good news for the Vogtle project of late. A federal judge on Sept. 30 dismissed a lawsuit filed by two vendors on the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades.

Georgia Power is the largest stakeholder at 45.7% of Vogtle Units 3 and 4. The Georgia Power share represents a 45.7% investment in the two new nuclear reactors.

Georgia Power’s partners in the nuclear project include Oglethorpe Power Corp., Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), and the City of Dalton, Ga.

Vogtle 3 is currently scheduled to enter commercial service in 2017 and Vogtle 4 in 2018.

Another Southern utility, Mississippi Power, said days earlier that a major power plant project, the Kemper County coal gasification power plant, won’t be commercially deployed by the prior target of May 2014. As a result of the schedule slippage, the integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant will lose some federal tax incentive money.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.