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Black & Veatch to Help Convert Coal Units to Gas-Powered Plants

Thu May 16, 2019 - Southeast Edition #11
Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch, an employee-owned design and construction company specializing in energy, water and telecommunications infrastructure, recently announced it has been selected by PowerSouth Energy Cooperative to engineer and manage construction of a combined-cycle gas turbine facility that will deliver clean and efficient energy to customers across Alabama and northwest Florida.

PowerSouth is a generation and transmission electric co-operative serving 16 electric co-ops and four municipal electric systems in the two states. The new facility, to be located near Leroy, Ala., is expected to begin construction in mid-2020 and will feature high-efficiency combustion gas turbine technology. The plant also will include water-cooling and air-quality strategies to efficiently meet rising demand for cleaner energy among PowerSouth customers.

"Our expertise in power plant conceptual and detail design, and construction management gives PowerSouth a focal point to streamline the project for on-time and on-budget delivery," said Mario Azar, president of Black & Veatch's power business. "Combined-cycle technology offers clear advantages in terms of efficiency and scale, and the cost of natural gas means PowerSouth can take advantage of an affordable and plentiful energy source well into the future."

Capacity generated by the new facility will replace the output of three PowerSouth coal-fired units now scheduled to cease operation in 2020. The addition of the natural gas unit also complements PowerSouth's existing diverse generating mix that includes natural gas, hydroelectricity, compressed air energy storage and purchased power agreements.

"As technology evolves and natural gas continues to be an efficient source of energy, we're prepared to meet the changing demand for power," said Gary Smith, PowerSouth CEO. "Our Lowman plant has served as a strong source of baseload generation for decades and has been an important part of our reliable and cost-effective portfolio. With Black & Veatch's expertise in advanced combined cycle units, we're confident that as we meet the changing needs of our members, we'll continue to deliver safe, reliable and efficient power to the region."

Black & Veatch recently was honored with a Project of the Year award by the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania for the company's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work on Tenaska's Westmoreland natural gas power generation station. Advanced gas turbine, water-cooling and air-quality technologies are helping Tenaska meet rising power demand in the Northeast while satisfying state and federal emissions standards.

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