Mitsubishi Power has begun commercial operations at the PowerSouth Energy Co-operative’s new 693MW Lowman Energy Center (LEC) in Leroy, Alabama.

The LEC project is a replacement for the now-retired 556MW Charles R Lowman coal-fired power plant.

The new project has been designed to support the increasing energy demands from PowerSouth’s distribution members in Alabama and northwest Florida, leveraging cleaner and more efficient natural gas technology.

PowerSouth decided to retire Lowman’s coal-fired units and build a new and efficient gas-fired power plant at the site in 2018. Construction of the LEC project began in 2020.

LEC is a combined-cycle power plant that can generate enough energy to power 300,000 households annually. The facility leverages Mitsubishi’s M501JAC, an air-cooled gas turbine that offers reduced start-up time and reliable long-term performance.

Mitsubishi Power will also provide long-term service and maintenance.

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Mitsubishi Power Americas president and CEO Bill Newsom stated: “The Lowman Energy Center is yet another example of how co-operatives and utilities alike are recognising the need for advanced, cleaner power generation technology to meet the needs of their members and customers.

“At Mitsubishi Power, we have the technology to support this transition and we thank PowerSouth for choosing us for this important project.”

PowerSouth president and CEO Gary Smith stated: “At maximum output, the LEC offers 693 megawatts of reliable, round-the-clock power that will meet the needs of our distribution members for decades.

“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.”