Alabama Power Unveils New Environmental Controls at Plant Miller To Help Address Ground-Level Ozone

Alabama Power today unveiled more than $170 million in newly installed, environmental technology at Plant Miller in west Jefferson County -- improvements designed to significantly reduce the plant's emissions of nitrogen oxide, a component of ground-level ozone.

The technology, installed on Units 3 and 4, began operating May 1 -- in time for this summer's ozone season. The project represents the completion of the second phase of a $500 million, multiyear initiative to install NOx- reduction technology at Alabama Power plants. The third phase is already under construction at Plant Miller, on Units 1 and 2, with completion expected in spring 2005.

The recently completed improvements at Miller are expected to reduce NOx emissions from Units 3 and 4 by 80 percent during summer ozone season. When work is completed on Miller Units 1 and 2, NOx emissions from the entire plant are expected to be cut by 78 percent during the summer months. That's the equivalent of removing 493,000 automobiles from Birmingham's roadways for a full year.

Since 1990, Alabama Power has cut its statewide NOx emissions rate -- the emissions the company produces for each megawatt-hour of electricity it generates -- by 47 percent. During the same period, Alabama Power has boosted generation to meet public demand.

"Our work at Plant Miller is part of our continuing efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. And our emission figures show it," said Charles McCrary, Alabama Power president and CEO. "But there's much more to come. Between now and 2010, we expect to spend another $1 billion to further reduce emissions."

The just-installed NOx-reduction equipment at Miller is known as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. SCRs act like giant catalytic converters, transforming NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.

The SCR and its steel support structure at Miller are 14 stories tall and two football fields long. The project took more than two years and more than $170 million to design and build. In comparison, that's more than three times the cost of One Federal Place and more than five times the cost of the Concord Center, downtown Birmingham's newest office towers.

In 2002 Alabama Power completed construction of an SCR at Plant Gorgas in Walker County at a cost of $62 million. The NOX reductions from the SCR at Plant Gorgas are equivalent to removing another 178,000 automobiles from the road for a full year. All of the SCRs at Plants Miller and Gorgas are being installed as part of a plan developed by state and federal officials to address the ozone issue.

"We understand our responsibility to reduce emissions, and we are doing just that," McCrary said. Since 1997, Alabama Power has cut NOx emissions -- that's actual emissions, not emission rates -- by 27 percent while boosting fossil generation by 13 percent.

Automobiles, emissions from commercial and industrial facilities, and fumes from gas pumps are among the other sources that contribute to ground- level ozone. Clean air advocates agree that addressing those emissions, improving automobile fuel efficiency and expanding public transportation must be part of the effort to reduce ozone.

"Alabama Power is doing its part to reduce NOx emissions. But everyone has a role to play in addressing ground-level ozone," said Danny Patterson of the group Alabama Partners for Clean Air. The group has been working to encourage carpooling and other initiatives to help reduce air pollution.

"We will continue to meet our obligations to help improve air quality," McCrary added. "At the same time, we must meet our customers' growing need for safe, reliable, affordable electricity."

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company , provides electricity to more than 1.3 million customers across the state.

SOURCE: Alabama Power Company

CONTACT: Michael Sznajderman of Alabama Power, +1-205-257-4155, or