Alabama Power and Southern Company Generation Celebrate High-Tech, Environmentally Friendly New Unit at Plant Barry

Alabama Power and Southern Company Generation celebrated the completion of a new 540 megawatt capacity generating unit at Barry Steam Plant today. Unit 6 uses combined-cycle generation, the most efficient, environmentally advanced technology available today.

Combined cycle generation is built in units called blocks. The block at Unit 6 has two combustion turbines and one steam turbine. In the generation process, the combustion turbine combines natural gas and compressed air to produce hot exhaust gases that rotate an electric generator. The combined cycle then uses the waste heat from the exhaust gas to heat water and produce steam. The steam then is directed to a steam turbine, causing the turbine and the electric generator to rotate, producing electricity.

The new unit uses state-of-the-art technology and natural gas fuel to generate electricity with the lowest possible air emissions. The unit is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) that helps reduce NOx emissions, making the unit's emissions rate one of the lowest in the Southeast. Units 1-5 at Plant Barry have reduced NOx emissions by approximately 10,000 tons per year since 1996.

"We are excited to be on the cutting-edge of environmentally advanced technology. Southern Company Generation is committed to using the best technology to meet our present and future customers' growing energy demands," said Southern Company Generation President Charles McCrary. "Unit 6 is the latest example of our commitment to pavering the future of Alabama and the Southeast."

Construction on the new unit began in July of 1998, and began commercial operation May 30, 2000. Barry Unit 7, also a combined cycle unit, is expected to be in commercial operation by June 1, 2001. Unit 6 will produce enough electricity each year to serve the needs of more than 175,000 homes.

"Alabama Power and Southern Company employees work hard to ensure that the citizens of Alabama continue to enjoy reliable, affordable electricity, and we're proud that our rates are 15 percent below the national average," said Alabama Power President and CEO Elmer Harris. "We acknowledge and celebrate the commitment of the employees who have contributed to the completion of this new generating unit."

Southern Company Generation is a business unit of Southern Company , the parent company of Alabama Power. Southern Company Generation currently operates 22 plants in Alabama and 66 across the Southeast, for a combined capacity of approximately 35,000 megawatts, making it one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States.

Alabama Power provides affordable, reliable electric service to 1.3 million customers in the lower two-thirds of Alabama. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, an international energy company that operates more than 48,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity worldwide. Southern Company is the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the world's largest independent power producers.

SOURCE: Alabama Power

Contact: Darya Braggs of Alabama Power, 205-257-4211, or