BIRMINGHAM, Ala.Alabama Power and Southern Company Generation recently announced the completion of a new 540 MW capacity generating unit at the Barry Steam Plant. 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 Charles McCrary, Southern Company Generation president. "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 Elmer Harris, Alabama Power president and CEO. "We acknowledge and celebrate the commitment of the employees who have contributed to the completion of this new generating unit."