N. Carolina utilities predict need for 12,548 MW

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Texas, August 21, 2001 – The three major utilities serving North Carolina have projected adding 12,548 MW of new installed electric generating capacity between now and 2010, state regulators reported.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission said Duke Power, a unit of Duke Energy Corp.; Charlotte; Carolina Power & Light Co. (CP&L), Raleigh; and Dominion North Carolina Power (NC Power), a unit of Virginia Electric & Power Co., Richmond, Va.; recently identified projected new capacity additions in conjunction with an annual report to the state.

CP&L is proposing to add 6,183 MW of new installed capacity, primarily new combustion turbines, in 2001-2010. This includes 2,645 MW of combustion turbines for which there are specific plans, and 3,280 MW of undesignated capacity, the commission said.

The company also is projecting a reduction of 683 MW of capacity in 2010 in conjunction with the planned retirement of the Robinson nuclear plant. CP&L has 10,961 MW of operating installed capacity.

The commission said Duke, which has existing generation totaling 19,357 MW, has projected adding 5,643 MW of generation, but reported the dates of operation, size, and type of resource haven’t been firmed up. Together Duke and CP&L supply 95% of the electricity consumed in the state.

NC Power has 14,146 MW of installed capacity and is proposing additions totaling 722 MW of new installed combustion turbines during 2001-2010. About 20% of the investor-owned utilities sales are to the North Carolina wholesale market, primarily electric membership cooperatives and municipal systems.

The commission said uncommitted and undefined sources indicate the utilities are planning to acquire new capacity with “significantly” shorter lead times, an approach typically associated with combustion turbine peaking plants.

“This increasing dependence on uncommitted resources is also representative of the approach being taken by North Carolina utilities,” the commission said.

State utilities are also cutting reserve margins compared to what they have maintained in the past, according to the commission, and they are including undesignated generating capacity additions in the calculations.

CP&L is predicting its reserve margin, the ratio of reserve capacity to peak load, will range between 11.7% and 14.5% during the forecast period. Duke has projected a reserve margin, ranging from 16.9% to 17.8%, and NC Power said it will maintain a 12.5% reserve margin.

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