CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Three new power plants officially began serving North Carolina customers at the end of 2012, representing a combined investment of nearly $3.65 billion and marking another significant milestone in Duke Energy's commitment to meet electricity needs with advanced, cleaner generation.
These sophisticated power plants represent one aspect of Duke Energy's aggressive strategy to make the transition to cleaner generation sources.
In addition to investing nearly $6 billion in new plants since 2007 and retiring as much as 6,800 megawatts (MW) of older coal capacity, Duke Energy has invested another $7.5 billion for plant upgrades to reduce emissions across its service area.
These investments have reduced the regulated fleet's emissions of sulfur dioxide by 74 percent and nitrogen oxides by 57 percent since 2005.
Cliffside Steam Station Unit 6
Cliffside Steam Station Unit 6 in Mooresboro, N.C., reached commercial operation Dec. 30 and provides 825 MW. This state-of-the-art coal unit employs an innovative combination of air quality controls to remove 99 percent of sulfur dioxide, 90 percent of nitrogen oxides and 90 percent of mercury. Its high efficiency also means it burns less coal per megawatt-hour than most other coal units in the nation.
"Cliffside Unit 6 has one of the most stringent air quality permits in the country, and our emissions testing program has demonstrated that these sophisticated controls are performing very well," said Charlie Gates, senior vice president of Power Generation Operations. "This unit also has the flexibility to burn a wide range of coals with superior emissions removal, which allows us to purchase cost-effective coals and provide additional savings to customers while improving air quality."
Duke Energy retired four 1940s-era coal units at Cliffside, totaling 198 MW, in October 2011 and committed to retiring another 1,469 MW of older coal generation in North Carolina associated with Cliffside Unit 6.
As part of modernizing the entire Cliffside site, Duke Energy also added a scrubber to existing unit 5 in 2011.
With the retirements and upgrades, the Cliffside site now generates more than twice the electricity with 80 percent less sulfur dioxide and half the nitrogen oxides and mercury than it did previously.
H.F. Lee Plant
The 920-MW H.F. Lee Plant near Goldsboro, N.C., reached commercial operation Dec. 31 and utilizes a highly efficient natural gas combined-cycle design. This new facility, along with the five combustion turbines at the existing Wayne County Energy Complex, will be called the H.F. Lee Energy Complex, with a total generation capacity of 1,800 MW. Progress Energy Carolinas retired three older coal units (totaling 382 MW) and four combustion turbines at the H.F. Lee Plant earlier this fall.
Dan River Combined Cycle Station
Also newly on line is the Dan River Combined Cycle Station in Eden, N.C., with 620 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. This facility reached commercial operation Dec. 10 and has more than twice the 276 MW of coal capacity Duke Energy retired there in spring 2012.
Duke Energy also retired all three older combustion turbines at the site this fall.
Natural gas plants like these at H.F. Lee and Dan River have high efficiency and flexibility, while producing significantly lower emissions.
"We continue to make great strides in transforming the way we serve customers, while maintaining affordability and reliability," Gates said. "Just as the lights in your home have changed, the electricity that powers them also is produced much differently today than just a few years ago. New technology will further advance that mission in the future."
All three new plants were completed within budget. Photos of each are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/sets/72157632418375600/.
Construction is also under way at the 625-MW natural gas combined-cycle facility at the Sutton Plant near Wilmington, N.C., where 575 MW of older coal-fired generation will be retired. The new gas plant is scheduled to be commercially available by the end of 2013.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with more than $100 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.1 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
SOURCE Duke Energy