Duke Energy Carolinas applied for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity (CECPCN) with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) seeking approval to construct and operate a 750 MW natural gas-fired combined cycle plant at the existing Lee Steam Station in Anderson County, S.C.
The filing was in partnership with North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. (NCEMC), which will be a minority owner of 100 MW of the project if constructed.
Though no final decision to build at Lee has been made, it is prudent to continue with the regulatory actions necessary to keep the project moving forward.
According to Duke Energy, The utility’s request is part of a long-term plan to add new power generation, modernize the power plant fleet, maintain a diverse fuel portfolio and manage customer costs while delivering a high-quality, reliable power supply.
Natural gas-fired combined cycle plants are a good match to meet needed base and intermediate load demands because of their high efficiency and flexibility. Their emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are very low, and natural gas emits about half the carbon dioxide as coal.
A combined cycle unit uses combustion turbine generators, boilers and a steam turbine generator to produce electricity.
Natural gas is burned in the combustion turbines to produce mechanical power that is converted into electrical power by the generators. For increased efficiency, the hot exhaust gases from the combustion turbines are used to create steam in the boilers that spins a steam turbine-generator and creates additional power.
The proposed project would represent a substantial long-term investment by Duke Energy Carolinas in the Lee Steam Station site and surrounding community, adding about 500 jobs during the height of construction.
Construction could begin after the company receives the necessary regulatory approvals. The new plant could begin commercial operation as early as June 2017.