PowerSouth’s Central Generation facility, located in Gantt, Ala., consists of the Maury A. McWilliams Steam Power Plant, the James A. Vann Jr. Power Plant and the Point A and Gantt Hydroelectric Power Plants.
The McWilliams Power Plant was PowerSouth’s first generating plant and was named after Maury A. McWilliams, our first board president, recognizing his untiring and faithful efforts in bringing about construction of the plant. The plant’s first two units began operation in the mid-1950s, and the third unit went online in 1959. Having used the plant to its full life expectancy, PowerSouth repowered the plant in 1996 to help meet future generation needs. The repowering process included the installation of a natural gas-fired 107-megawatt combustion turbine-generator and a heat recovery system that recycles exhaust heat to create steam. The steam is used by the plant’s original units to produce electricity. The repowered plant provides 159-megawatts during the winter and 149-megawatts during summer. At its winter peak, McWilliams generates enough electricity to power approximately 159,000 homes.
Construction on the Vann Plant, adjacent to the McWilliams Plant, was completed December 2001.The plant – named after former President and CEO James A. Vann, Jr. – uses a combined-cycle process of natural gas and steam generation. The natural gas used to fuel the plant is delivered via a 61-mile, 20-inch pipeline that runs from Flomaton, Ala., to the plant site. The Vann Plant serves as base load generation for PowerSouth and our distribution members. It boasts a winter capacity of 539 megawatts and a summer capacity of 501 megawatts. It was designed to incorporate the most environmentally friendly equipment available to generate affordable electricity, and it is PowerSouth’s cleanest and most efficient fossil-fired generating facility to date, generating enough electricity to power approximately 539,000 homes.
The Point A and Gantt Hydroelectric Power Plants combine for a generating capacity of 8 megawatts – enough to power approximately 8,000 homes. Water is held in large reservoirs behind the dams with hydroelectric power plants below. The dams create strong water flows which move turbine blades that turn the rotor of an electric generator.
The Gantt Plant is located in Gantt, Ala., at the site of a former grist mill on the Conecuh River. The Point A Plant is approximately five miles downstream near the town of River Falls, Ala. Today, the plants are operated and monitored using modern technology from on-site control rooms or a centralized control room at McWilliams Power Plant. The hydro plants operate only when river levels allow an adequate supply of water to turn turbines.