Oglethorpe OKs terms of DOE loan guarantee for Vogtle, says closing likely soon

Boston (Platts)--21 Nov 2013 626 pm EST/2326 GMT

Oglethorpe Power said Thursday that its board of directors has approved the terms of a US Department of Energy loan guarantee for up to 70% of the Georgia electric cooperative group's share of the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project, and that an early-winter closing on the deal is almost certain.

"We're almost over the finish line on this one," Betsy Higgins, Oglethorpe's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said of the DOE loan guarantee during a third-quarter conference call with energy analysts. She said there is "still some risk that [the closing] may not happen in December," but that, in Oglethorpe's view, the closing is "not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."

DOE in February 2010 granted Southern Company, Oglethorpe and Municipal Energy Authority of Georgia conditional approval for a total of up to $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for the two-unit, 2,234-MW Plant Vogtle expansion project. Since then, the parties have been seeking to work out the specific terms of their individual deals with DOE.

Southern Company's Georgia Power subsidiary owns 45.7% of the expansion project, while Oglethorpe owns 30%, MEAG owns 22.7%, and the municipal utility in Dalton, Georgia, owns 1.6%.

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Jeannine Hall, spokeswoman for Southern Company, said Thursday that Southern continues have "constructive dialog" with representatives of DOE and remains "cautiously optimistic" the parties can agree on final terms.

Spokesmen for MEAG did not respond to a request for comment.

--Housley Carr, newsdesk@platts.com
--Edited by Jason Lindquist, jason.lindquist@platts.com

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