Barry Steam Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Barry Steam Plant is an operating power station of at least 2568-megawatts (MW) in Bucks, Mobile, Alabama, United States with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as James M. Barry Electric Generating Plant.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Barry Steam Plant Bucks, Mobile, Alabama, United States 31.0069, -88.0103 (exact)[1]

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 4, Unit G521, Unit G522, Unit G523: 31.0069, -88.0103
  • Unit 5, Unit 4, Unit 1, Unit 3, Unit 2: 31.006553, -88.008753

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology CHP Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating[1] gas[1] 153[2] steam turbine[1] no[1] 2015[3]
Unit 2 operating[1] gas[1] 153[2] steam turbine[1] no[1] 2015[3]
Unit 4 pre-construction[4] gas[4] 350[4][5] steam turbine[4] no[1] 2028[6][7]
Unit G521 operating[1] gas[1] 535[2] combined cycle[1] no[1] 2000[1]
Unit G522 operating[1] gas[1] 535[2] combined cycle[1] no[1] 2000[1]
Unit G523 construction[2][8][9][10] gas[11] 774[2] combined cycle[11] no[11] 2023[2]
Unit 5 operating coal - bituminous 788.8 supercritical 1971 2028 (planned)
Unit 4 operating coal - bituminous 403.7 subcritical 1969 2023 (planned)
Unit 1 retired coal - bituminous 153.1 subcritical 1954 2016
Unit 3 retired coal - bituminous 272 subcritical 1959 2016
Unit 2 retired coal - bituminous 153.1 subcritical 1954 2016

CHP is an abbreviation for Combined Heat and Power. It is a technology that produces electricity and thermal energy at high efficiencies. Coal units track this information in the Captive Use section when known.

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Unit 1 Alabama Power Company[12] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit 2 Alabama Power Company[12] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit 4 Alabama Power Company[6] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit G521 Alabama Power Company[12] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit G522 Alabama Power Company[12] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit G523 Alabama Power Company[11] The Southern Company [100.0%]
Unit 5 Alabama Power Co [100.0%]
Unit 4 Alabama Power Co [100.0%]
Unit 1 Alabama Power Co [100.0%]
Unit 3 Alabama Power Co [100.0%]
Unit 2 Alabama Power Co [100.0%]


  • Unit Retirements: Unit 3 retired in 2015.[13] Unit 4 is slated to halt coal use by the end of 2023.[14] There are plans to retire Unit 5 before end of 2028 depending on oversight approval from the public service commission.[15]

Conversion to Natural Gas

In January 2014 Alabama Power announced its plans for its older, units 1-3 at the Barry coal plant to be running on natural gas starting 2016. The company claimed that the Barry units will lose the capability to use coal going forward. The company also plans to add gas capability to the four 255-megawatt Units 1-4 at its Gaston Steam Plant in Alabama by 2016 so they can run primarily on gas going forward.[16]

The company ceased using coal at units 1 and 2 of Barry in April 2015, which will be available on a limited basis with gas as the fuel source. Southern Co was debating whether to convert unit 3 to gas, close it, or keep it as a coal plant.[17]

According to the EIA 860 database unit 3 retired in August of 2015.[13]

On the Q3 conference call 2021 Southern Company announced that they will close unit 5 and convert Units 4 to natural gas before the end of 2028 depending on oversight approval.[15]

In February 2022, a special order highlighted the lack of pollution abatement equipment installed at the plant's Unit 4. In both 2020 and 2021, the Unit was found to be in violation of emission limits, particularly Sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. There were "environmental justice communities" within the at-risk zone of the pollution. According to enforcement action, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Alabama Power Company must end the burning of coal in Barry Steam Plant's Unit 4 by the end of 2023.[14] In March 2022, the Air Division of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management recommended issuing an air permit for the proposed project[18].

Gas-Fired Generation at Barry Steam Plant

Coal units 1 and 2 were converted to natural gas, besides those 2 units with a total capacity of 306.2 MW there are also 6 other natural gas fired combined Cycle generators active with a total capacity of 1,070.8 MW that started operating in the year 2000.[13]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 12,449,918 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 52,621 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 16,800 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 881 lb.

Coal Waste Site

The Barry Steam Plant Ash Pond is the coal ash disposal site associated with Barry Steam Plant, owned and operated by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power near Bucks, Alabama.

In September 2022, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama Richard Moore, on behalf of NGO Mobile Baykeeper, sued Alabama Power over their plan to leave 21 million tons of coal ash at the Barry Steam Plant in an unlined pit on the floodplain next to the Mobile River. According to the Director of SELC's Alabama office, it "is the only coal ash lagoon of a major utility left in a low-lying coastal area of the Southeast that is not already cleaned up or on track to be recycled or removed to safe storage".[19]

Barry ranked 13th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[20] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[21]

Barry Steam Plant ranked number 13 on the list, with 2,350,349 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[20]

Southern Company abandons carbon capture and storage project

In December 2009, Southern Company received a $295 million grant from the Department of Energy to retrofit 160MW at the Barry Steam Plant for carbon capture. The company plants to compress and transport the CO2 through a pipeline and store up to one million metric tons per year in deep saline formations. The company will also explore using the captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.[22]

However, on March 1, 2010 it was announced that Southern Company had abandoned its $700 million carbon capture project at the Barry Steam Plant. Company spokesperson Steve Higginbottom said, "It's really about the efficient deployment of resources. Really, we felt it was in the best interest of our customers and shareholders to not move forward with the expanded CCS project at Plant Barry." He added, "The current economic conditions also factored into the decision."[23]

Later in September 2010, Southern Company reported that they had captured carbon emissions at its Yates Steam Generating Plant for the first time and then released it during a pilot project. The technology uses a solvent to remove carbon gas from emissions. The company stated that while the they released the captured carbon at Yates, it will be catching carbon and storing it underground at its Barry Steam Plant in 2011.[24].

Citizen Groups

See also Alabama and coal

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 "U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (November 2019)". Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (May 2023)". Archived from the original on September 18, 2023. Retrieved June 21, 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 (PDF) {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  6. 6.0 6.1 {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (July 2021)". Archived from the original on November 22, 2021. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860 detailed data with previous form data (EIA-860A/860B), 2018". Archived from the original on November 16, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory", 860m March 2020
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Comments on Special Order by Consent for Alabama Power Company Barry Steam Electric Generating Plant," GASP, Energy Alabama, Sierra Club, MEJAC and C.H.E.S.S., February 17, 2022
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call Presentation,", accessed November 5, 2021.
  16. "Southern to repower three Alabama coal power plants with natgas," Reuters, Jan 16, 2014
  17. "3 Basins to Serve the Surviving US Coal Fleet," Coal Age, 20 July 2015
  18. "Engineering Analysis. Alabama Power Company – Plant Barry" (PDF). Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Retrieved June 7, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. Mobile Baykeeper, SELC sue Alabama Power to stop continued coal ash pollution in Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, Southern Environmental Law Center, September 26, 2022.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  21. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  22. "Laura Miller gets her clean coal grant," Dallas News, December 4, 2009.
  23. " Daniel Kessler March, 1 2010.
  24. "Southern captures carbon emissions for first time" Margaret Newkirk, Atlanta Journal-Constitution September 23, 2010

Additional data

To access additional data, including interactive maps of the power stations, downloadable datases, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker and the Global Oil and Gas Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.