Barry Steam Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Barry Steam Plant is a 1,498.7-megawatt (MW) natural gas and coal-fired power station operated by Alabama Power's near Bucks, Alabama.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Alabama Power
  • Parent Company: Southern Company
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,770.7 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 153.1 MW (1954), Unit 2: 153.1 MW (1954), Unit 3: 272.0 MW (1959), Unit 4: 403.7 MW (1969), Unit 5: 788.8 MW (1971)
  • Location: U.S. Highway 43, Bucks, AL 36512
  • GPS Coordinates: 31.005908, -88.011383
  • Technology: Subcritical (unit 4), Supercritical (unit 5)
  • Coal type: Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Pribbenow coal mine (Colombian Import)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Conversions: Units 1 & 2 are converted to natural gas.
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 3 retired in 2015.[2] Unit 4 is slated to halt coal use by the end of 2023.[3] There are plans to retire Unit 5 before end of 2028 depending on oversight approval from the public service commission.[4]

Conversion to Natural Gas

In January 2014 Alabama Power said it plans for its older, units 1-3 at the Barry coal plant to be running on natural gas in 2016. The company said 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.[5]

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 is debating whether to convert unit 3 to gas, close it, or keep it as a coal plant.[6]

According to the EIA 860 database unit 3 retired in August of 2015.[2]

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.[4]

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.[3]

Natural Gas 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.[2]

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

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.[7] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[8]

Barry Steam Plant ranked number 13 on the list, with 2,350,349 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[7]

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.[9]

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."[10]

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.[11].

Citizen Groups

See also Alabama and coal

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory", 860m March 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 "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
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call Presentation,", accessed November 5, 2021.
  5. "Southern to repower three Alabama coal power plants with natgas," Reuters, Jan 16, 2014
  6. "3 Basins to Serve the Surviving US Coal Fleet," Coal Age, 20 July 2015
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  8. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  9. "Laura Miller gets her clean coal grant," Dallas News, December 4, 2009.
  10. " Daniel Kessler March, 1 2010.
  11. "Southern captures carbon emissions for first time" Margaret Newkirk, Atlanta Journal-Constitution September 23, 2010

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