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ORLANDO, Fla. - Officials representing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Southern Company, KBR Inc. and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) today broke ground to begin construction of an advanced 285-megawatt integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facility near Orlando, Fla. The new generating station will be among the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled power plants in the world.
Southern Company will operate the facility through its Southern Power subsidiary, which builds, owns, and manages the company's competitive generation assets. It will be located at OUC's Stanton Energy Center in Orange County, Fla., and will help meet OUC's growing energy needs. Commercial operation is scheduled for June 2010.
"For more than a decade, we have been involved with DOE, KBR and other partners in the development of the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIGTM) technology," said David Ratcliffe, Southern Company's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We are excited about the opportunity to now apply this new technology to generate power more cleanly and efficiently using our nation's abundant coal reserves."
"This groundbreaking represents a significant milestone in the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative, which aims to reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of existing and new coal-based power plants," U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "Coal is America's most abundant resource and through a combination of government incentives and private sector support for advanced coal technologies, we are working to further harness America's technological strength in developing clean, secure, affordable and reliable supplies of energy."
"At OUC, we are proud of our record for environmental stewardship. Each of our plants incorporated the best available environmental technology at the time of construction," said OUC Board President Lonnie Bell. "The IGCC project is another important stepforward, taking our commitment further by participating in the demonstration of a new, cleaner technology."
The Stanton unit, which is part of President Bush's Clean Coal Power Initiative, will turn coal into synthetic gas for generating electricity, while significantly reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. It also will produce 20-25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than our existing pulverized coal plants and consume approximately half the water required by a pulverized coal plant.
TRIGTM was developed by Southern Company at the Power Systems Development Facility in Wilsonville, Ala., through its partnership with DOE and KBR. It is a superior coal-gasification method that is both proven and practical for producing power, chemicals and transportation fuels from coal with less environmental impact. TRIGTM easily handles the high-moisture, high-ash coals that account for more than half of the world's vast coal reserves. It offers a simpler, more robust method of producing power than most existing coal-gasification technologies.
"KBR is proud to play a role in making the Orlando Gasification Facility a reality," said William P. Utt, Chairman, President and CEO of KBR. "KBR and Southern Company have a long history of collaborating on similar projects that strive to develop advanced gasification technology. We look forward to continuing that collaboration on this important project."
"To meet this nation's ever-growing energy needs we must rely on a diverse suite of technologies, including new nuclear, energy efficiency and renewables, advanced clean coal and natural gas," Ratcliffe continued. "New coal technologies such as TRIGTM are part of that solution."
The U.S. Department of Energy contributes to the future of the nation by ensuring our energy security, maintaining the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile, cleaning up the environment from the legacy of the Cold War, and developing innovations in science and clean energy technology. Today's announcement represents one of four projects selected under the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative, a $2 billion, 10-year effort to advance technologies that can help meet the Nation's growing demand for low-cost electricity while reducing carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change concerns.
Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC - The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to more than 200,000 customers in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.
KBR is a global engineering, construction and services company supporting the energy, petrochemicals, government services and civil infrastructure sectors. The company offers a wide range of services through its Energy and Chemicals (E&C), Government and Infrastructure (G&I), and Ventures business segments.
About Southern Company
With 4.3 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast, one of America's fastest-growing regions. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are significantly below the national average. Southern Company has been listed the top ranking U.S. electric service provider in customer satisfaction for seven consecutive years by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
Mike Tyndall or Jason Cuevas (Southern Company)
404-506-5333 or 1-866-506-5333
Megan Barnett (DOE)
Heather Browne (KBR)
Erika Hodges (OUC)
407.236.9697 or 407.236.9655