Alabama Power and project partners continue to decommission Plant Gorgas located in Walker County. Three boiler houses and one vent stack were imploded Thursday, Sept. 9. Those structures generated electricity for Alabama Power customers for more than a century.
“Plant Gorgas was an important part of the greater Birmingham economy,” said Jim Heilbron, Alabama Power senior vice president and senior production officer. “We’re confident this safe demolition will pave the way for future redevelopment and reuse of the site.”
Alabama Power has worked with various companies to carefully dismantle the plant structure, with the demolition a major final step in the process.
Heilbron added while no specific plans are in place, this step enables the company to safely recycle or dispose of the structural assets on site, like boiler houses and turbines.
“Safety is our top value and was the foundation of our demolition planning,” Heilbron said. “To ensure a safe, controlled environment for this effort, we worked with local law enforcement to temporarily close roads and waterways near the plant site in the hours before and after the demolition.”
Plant Gorgas first produced electricity in 1917. As technologies advanced during the 20th century, Plant Gorgas advanced as well, operating up to 10 coal units during its lifespan.
The plant was retired in April 2019 as part of company efforts to evolve generation sources to the most balanced, cost-effective energy mix for customers. Alabama Power serves its 1.5 million customers with reliable power generated numerous ways, including from natural gas, nuclear, coal, hydro and solar.
“It is important to use multiple energy sources to ensure our customers’ lights are always on, no matter what season or weather conditions we face,” Heilbron said.
Plant Gorgas demolition by the numbers
- Over 850 charges used on the four structures.
- Charges move at 22,000 feet per second.
- The demolition produced about 25,000 tons of recyclable material.