Wednesday, March 27, 2013

GULF POWER TO PHASE OUT SCHOLZ COAL POWER PLANT IN 2015

Scholz coal-fired power plant - Chattahoochee, FL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 27, 2013

BIG STEP TOWARD CLEANER AIR IN FLORIDA

GULF POWER TO PHASE OUT SCHOLZ COAL-FIRED POWER PLANT IN 2015


ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Gulf Power, the Florida-based arm of Southern Company, has announced its plans to phase out and retire the Scholz coal-fired power plant located in Jackson County by April 2015. Nationwide, dozens of utilities are choosing to retire aging coal-fired power plants in favor of cleaner, cheaper options, including wind and solar power and energy efficiency solutions. Gulf Power’s Scholz plant is now the 144th coal-fired power plant slated for retirement in the United States.

“Gulf Power is making the right decision, to retire the Scholz plant by early 2015. Almost every month we see utilities making the same decision – choosing cleaner air and lower costs for their customers,” said Frank Jackalone, with Sierra Club. “Gulf Power made another smart decision by prioritizing their workers and keeping them employed with the company. But there’s more work to do to clean up Gulf Power. The Sierra Club now calls on Gulf Power to take the next step and phase out the Lansing Smith coal-fired power plant, in Panama City. That old plant is far dirtier than Scholz and it makes no economic sense to keep it running. Gulf needs to replace the obsolete facility with twenty-first century energy efficiency solutions.”

The Scholz plant, completed in 1953, contributed nearly 5,000 tons of smog-forming pollution to Florida’s air when Gulf Power was running the plant frequently. Over the past few years, Gulf Power scaled back operations at the facility as it grew increasingly expensive to operate. Still, the plant pumped more than 100,000 tons of carbon pollution into Florida’s atmosphere, and nearly 2,000 tons of smog-forming pollution into the air in 2011. Smog pollution, also known as ozone, causes serious health problems for the elderly, young children, people with existing respiratory illnesses, and those who work or recreate outdoors on hot days. By retiring the Scholz facility, Gulf Power is taking a good step toward reducing the pollution the company generates in Florida each year.

Since 2002, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign has worked with partners and allies to secure the retirement of 144 existing coal-fired power plants and has stopped proposals to build 177 new coal-fired power plants. Clean energy is now powering more homes and businesses than ever before, with states like Iowa and South Dakota generating more than 20% of their power from wind energy, and New Jersey has installed 1 gigawatt of solar power, enough to power 139,000 homes. Recently, the Sierra Club moved its Florida headquarters into a net-zero energy building in St. Petersburg. The building produces more electricity than it consumes, using solar power, geothermal power, and cutting edge energy efficiency technology.

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Contact:
Jenna Garland, Sierra Club, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org
Frank Jackalone, Sierra Club, frank.jackalone@sierraclub.org

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