Dean Alford, EE 76, never expected to become the face of a coal plant.
A clean-cut businessman with snow-white hair and a matching mustache, he looks comfortable in a tailored suit with a pocket-square intricately styled into three points over his chest. Despite his manicured appearance, he has an easy presence and comfortable charm. His big smile and Southern accent that’s equal parts folksy and sophisticated are a testament to his many years in politics.
As president and CEO of Allied Energy, Alford, EE 76, has acted as spokesman for a proposed coal plant in Georgia that has gained national attention amid sweeping new regulations on carbon emissions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In 2008, Allied, which develops energy projects for clients in North and Central America and the Caribbean, filed a permit to build a new, $2.1 billion, 850-megawatt coal plant on behalf of a corporation called Power 4 Georgians.
The coal-fired power plant—known as Plant Washington—is to be built in Washington County, just outside of Sandersville. Despite many road bumps and challenges, the project is still underway. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division recently granted the Plant Washington team an 18-month extension to of its existing state air quality permits. Alford says the extension gives the team time to determine how the project could be possibly impacted by the U.S. EPA’s proposed new regulations.
“Right now we’re full speed ahead,” Alford says. “It very well could be the last coal plant built in this country for a very long time.”
Many doubt that Plant Washington will ever become a reality. The project has been held up for years by evolving air pollution regulations, and lengthy court challenges have slowed the project down.
“We didn’t believe there’d be quite this much uncertainty, but we knew there’d be some,” Alford says. “It’s been an interesting project.”
Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine