The company said stricter regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have forced the closure of Plant Scholz, which has operated since 1953. When Gulf Power evaluated the cost to retrofit the plant to meet EPA regulations, the utility decided it was in their customers’ best interest to close the plant.
Over the next two years, the plant will continue to operate. At the end of that time, plant employees who are not planning to retire will be transitioned to other jobs within the company.
At one time, Plant Scholz was Gulf Power’s flagship plant. Its two generating units can produce a total of 100 megawatts.
“Over time, Plant Scholz has been one of the most reliable plants in the Southern Company system,” Stan Connally, Gulf Power President and CEO said. “It’s provided affordable, reliable electricity for our customers for 60 years — and helped this region grow.”
Even with the closure of the plant, Gulf Power will still be able to generate enough electricity to supply its customers in Northwest Florida. In addition, the utility is part of Southern Company (NYSE: SO) and interconnected with sister companies Georgia Power, Mississippi Power and Alabama Power.
Gulf Power continually evaluates its generation needs, looking at many variables including forecasted demand, cost-effective generation technologies and upcoming regulations.
“To the employees at the plant we say ‘thank you’ for the outstanding job you’ve done to serve our customers,” said Connally. “And looking toward the future we’ll continue to ensure a diverse, affordable generation mix that serves our customers for years to come.”