James M. Barry electric generating plant is being expanded with two new combined-cycle units. Credit: So.Co.
Unit 8 of the power plant is installed with Mitsubishi M501 JAC gas turbine. Credit: Mitsubishi Power.
Mitsubishi Power was awarded the contract to supply a gas turbine, steam turbine, and a heat recovery steam generator for Unit 8 of the power plant in December 2020. Credit: Mitsubishi Power.

The James M Barry electric generating plant is a coal and natural gas-fired power plant located in Alabama, US.

Also known as Barry Power Plant or just Plant Barry, the plant is owned and operated by Alabama Power, the second-largest subsidiary of the Southern Company.

The power plant is being expanded with two new 727MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle units, 8 and 9.

Announced in 2020, the project will help meet future electricity demand from customers.

Construction of the first unit, Unit 8, was initiated in 2021 and it commenced operations in November 2023, while Unit 9 is expected to be operational from November 2025.

Plant Barry’s location

The James M Barry electric generating plant is developed on a 1,700-acre (688 hectare) site located along the west banks of the Mobile River 20 miles (32km) north of Mobile City in Mobile County, southwest Alabama.

James M Barry electric generating plant expansion background

Alabama Power announced the development of a one-on-one combined-cycle facility named Unit 8 with a capacity of 727MW in May 2019.

In June 2020, the Alabama Public Service Commission approved the expansion of Plant Barry’s natural gas capacity by more than 1.8GMW. Alabama Power subsequently announced plans to build two new natural gas-fired combined-cycle units, 8 and 9.

The additional units will offer a total capacity of approximately 1.4GW for distribution on Alabama Power’s electric system.

Alabama Power also plans to upgrade the turbines of the existing units between 2027 and 2029.

James M Barry electric generating plant expansion details

Each of the new combined-cycle units will include an M501 JAC natural gas-fuelled combustion turbine unit, an HRSG supplementary-fired heat recovery steam generator and a steam turbine.

The units will also include an auxiliary boiler, emergency generators, a fire water pump engine, mechanical draft cooling towers, an oxidation catalyst system to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, and a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide.

The new units utilise the majority of the existing infrastructure at the Plant Barry site.

New facilities developed for the units include new water lines and access roads, a gas extension line from the existing Plant Barry gas yard to the new units and a new tie line to the existing Ellicott 230kV substation.

Turbine details

The M501 JAC gas turbine is designed to produce an output of between 330MW and 453MW. It has a combined-cycle efficiency of more than 64% and 99.5% dependability.

The turbine includes an upgraded air-cooled combustion engine and a state-of-the-art thermal barrier coating on turbine blades.

The turbine generates minimal emissions and can reduce carbon emissions by more than 70%, replacing the existing coal-fired turbine technology.

Contractors involved

Black & Veatch, an engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company, was awarded an integrated engineering, procurement and construction contract for Unit 8.

Mitsubishi Power, an energy solutions provider, was contracted to supply a heat recovery steam generator, a steam turbine and a JAC gas turbine for Unit 8 in December 2020.

James M Barry electric generating plant details

Plant Barry is the largest electricity generating plant in Alabama Power’s system. It includes two natural gas-fired boilers (Units 1 and 2), two coal-fired boilers (Units 4 and 5) and two natural gas-fired combined-cycle blocks (Units 6A and 6B, and 7A and 7B) powered by two GE 7F.04 gas turbines. The combined-cycle units also include heat recovery steam generators, cooling towers, and steam turbines.

Two of the six operational units at the Barry Power Plant were converted into natural gas units in October 2015, while another unit was decommissioned.

In December 2022, Unit 4 (350MW) switched from using coal to running entirely on natural gas. Unit 5 (700MW) is scheduled for retirement in 2024, based on operational circumstances.