Advocates applaud retirement announcement of Lansing Smith coal Units 1 & 2

Gulf Power Company, a Southern Company subsidiary, has announced plans to retire 375 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired units at its Lansing Smith power plant near Panama City, Florida. The facility is 50 years old and has emitted an average of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide annually in the ten years between 2004 and 2014.

Gulf Power said the facility will continue to operate until retirement on March 31, 2016 and that the panhandle of Florida will have plenty of generation capacity from the Crist facility in Pensacola. In the announcement, Gulf cited compliance challenges with new EPA regulations such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

This announcement comes on the heels of a statement made just two weeks ago that the company plans to add three new solar plants at naval and air force bases in Northwest Florida, totaling 120 MW of new solar power.

Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, issued the following statement.

“We hope today marks the beginning of a new clean energy future for Gulf Power and the panhandle of Florida. We welcome Gulf’s decision to retire the old, inefficient Lansing Smith coal units alongside the company’s recent announcement to add more solar power. Moving away from coal is the best decision from public health, environmental, and economic perspectives. We urge Gulf Power to become leaders in furthering the positive clean energy choices for Floridians and to address their legacy coal ash waste impoundments onsite at Lansing Smith.

SACE continues to have concerns about significant issues with coal ash at this site, but by retiring the Lansing Smith plant, Gulf Power is helping to clean the air in Panama City and nearby communities. We hope Gulf will take the necessary steps to clean up the surrounding waters as well. SACE is eager to work with Gulf Power to ensure that renewable energy resources will be included in the replacement options for Lansing Smith and their other retiring facility, Plant Scholz.”

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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at