N.C. regulators approve Progress Energy Carolinas power plant

Raleigh, N.C., October 5, 2009 – The N.C. Utilities Commission approved Progress Energy Carolinas’ plan to build new natural gas-fueled power generation to replace a coal-fired plant that the utility will retire in 2013.

The commission approved a certificate of necessity for Progress Energy Carolinas’ proposed 950-MW combined-cycle power plant near the site of the H.F. Lee coal-fired plant.

The company plans to retire the plant’s three coal-fired units August 18, and filed the certificate request the same day. The streamlined review process was authorized by legislation approved by the N.C. General Assembly in July.

The natural gas-fueled plant represents a projected investment of about $900 million. It is expected to create up to 500 construction jobs over the 24-month building process.

As planned, the new plant will increase the amount of electricity that can be produced at the site by about 550 MW, while reducing overall emissions, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury.

The additional generating capacity may be used to meet the demands of a growing customer service area, meet evolving environmental requirements and to provide for additional resource flexibility.

The company plans to file for a state air permit in the coming months. The schedule calls for construction to begin in 2011.

The three Lee Plant coal units were built in 1951, 1952 and 1962. In 2000, the company built four combustion-turbine units (fueled by natural gas or oil) at a site adjacent to the Lee Plant, called the Wayne County Energy Complex.

Earlier this year, a fifth combustion turbine was added at Wayne County. Those units are used primarily as peaking plants, to meet increased demand for electricity on the hottest and coldest days of the year.

The existing Wayne County Energy Complex is large enough to accommodate the additional gas-fueled generation. Unlike the existing gas-fired units at Wayne County, the new units will be operated in combined cycle.

The addition will include three combustion turbines with additional equipment added to recover exhaust heat to generate steam. The steam is used to generate additional electricity with no additional need for fuel.

Progress Energy controls more than 22,000 MW of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues.

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