“It makes it real easy to find Cobb County and District 2 from the air,” he said.
The formerly 835-foot-high tower has been slowly coming down, a result of the plant’s conversion to natural gas generation from coal.
Georgia Power spokesman Mark Williams said workers have taken about 100 feet from the top since work started.
“We anticipate it will be completely down in late July or August,” he said.
Workers are taking the tower apart, brick by brick, with the bricks falling into the stack. Williams said the bricks are then hauled away. He said this method was more efficient than other types of demolition, including implosion.
“That plant is surrounded by businesses and neighborhoods,” he said.
“An implosion would not be possible.”
To allow workers to get to the top of the smokestack, rigging was used to hoist scaffolding and equipment to the top of the tower, where the concrete and steel structure is being demolished, Williams said. Netting has been placed around the scaffold to make sure debris doesn’t fall outside the stack.
The smokestack near the banks of the Chattahoochee River has long obstructed the view between the southern part of Smyrna and downtown Atlanta.
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, for one, said nobody has complained to him about losing the smokestack.
“It very much needs to be gone,” he said. “That part of history has been well documented. It’s seen better days.”
Cleaner air on the way
While the smokestack, located off South Cobb Drive, will no longer affect the view of downtown, cleaner air could also help people see the skyscrapers better.
Williams said that by replacing the coal units with three 840-megawatt natural gas-fired combined cycle units, enough to power 625,000 homes, Georgia Power can cut the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions in half. It will also reduce nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by at least 95 percent each.
Along with the smokestack, two coal-fired units are being taken down. They are no longer needed after the natural gas units opened between December 2011 and October 2012.
With the conversion to natural gas, Ott said the plant is one of the few that Georgia Power will rely on during times of peak power demand, such as the hottest days of summer.
“That’s good for the county, because the more power they use, the more revenue,” he said.