PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and Mitsubishi Power have commenced operations at the 693 MW Lowman Energy Center (LEC) in Leroy, Alabama, to provide cleaner, more efficient electricity to PowerSouth’s distribution members in Alabama and Northwest Florida.
The LEC, a state-of-the-art combined-cycle power plant, has been operational since September and has replaced the retired 556 MW Charles R. Lowman coal-fired power plant. The plant currently produces enough energy to supply 300,000 homes annually.
“At maximum output, the LEC offers 693 megawatts of reliable, around-the-clock power that will meet the needs of our distribution members for decades,” said PowerSouth President and CEO Gary Smith. “That capability is important to our enduring mission of reliability and affordability, which are being challenged by a rapid push toward intermittent, renewable generation. LEC is vital to our ability to keep the lights on.”
The power plant features Mitsubishi’s advanced air-cooled gas turbine, the M501JAC, which offers reduced start-up time and reliable long-term performance. Under a long-term service agreement, the company will provide service and maintenance for the turbine.
“The Lowman Energy Center is yet another example of how cooperatives and utilities alike are recognizing the need for advanced, cleaner power generation technology to meet the needs of their members and customers,” said Bill Newsom, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Power Americas. “At Mitsubishi Power, we have the technology to support this transition, and we thank PowerSouth for choosing us for this important project.”
The LEC uses excess heat to boil water for the steam turbine unit, and thus, energy is not wasted but captured. It has joined PowerSouth’s portfolio of reliable generating facilities operating with natural gas, including the McIntosh Plant (McIntosh, Alabama), McWilliams, and Vann (both in Gantt, Alabama).