After more than a century, Alabama Power announced it would be closing its Plant Gorgas in Walker County. The company cited costly, federally driven environmental mandates as the reason for the closure.
“Government regulations related to the handling of coal ash and wastewater are the main cause behind Alabama Power’s decision to close Plant Gorgas,” said Jim Heilbron, senior vice president and senior production officer.
The company estimated it would cost approximately $300 million to comply with the latest round of environmental mandates and continue operating the plant’s three coal-fired generating units.
“We are also concerned that more regulations are on the horizon that could require additional, costly expenditures at the plant,” Heilbron said.
Plant Gorgas has gone through many changes since its first generating unit began operating in 1917. Plant Gorgas will officially close April 15.
The closing of Plant Gorgas will not affect the company’s ability to provide reliable service to customers.
Since 2015, Alabama Power has reduced its coal-fired generating units from 23 to 10. After Plant Gorgas is retired, the company will have seven coal-fired units remaining, at three power plants.
“Alabama Power is focused on providing our customers reliable, affordable electricity while protecting the environment we all share,” Heilbron said. He added that the company continuously examines its generating fleet and fuel mix to determine the most cost-effective way to meet the needs of customers, while meeting all government requirements.