Plant Gadsden after reconstruction, post-1950. (Alabama Power Archives).

Alabama Power plans to close its oldest electric power plant, the Gadsden Steam Plant, after 109 years. The retirement date is set for Jan. 1.

The utility said cost and efficiency drove it to retire the plant’s two 70-year-old units.

When it was built, Plant Gadsden’s ability to produce 10,000 KWh made it the largest electric generating facility in the state. The original Gadsden produced electricity until 1952. A new plant was built on the site and began operation in 1949. The units were built with the ability to use coal or natural gas to generate electricity.

Plant Gadsden has run on coal, natural gas and switchgrass during its lifetime. In 2015, the company begins fully using natural gas as its fuel source.  

Alabama Power said no job losses from the plant retirement are expected.

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