By Stephanie Glover, Web Producer/Digital Journalist - email
Duke Energy is closing one of its older coal burning plants to open a new natural gas facility in an effort to evolve its energy strategy. Its 625-megawatt new natural gas plant began serving customers in North and South Carolina late last month. This $600 million plant replaces their coal-fired Sutton plant located in Wilmington, N.C. after 59 years. The corporation says it uses state-of-the-art technology and air quality controls which reduces carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide emissions when compared to the traditional coal plants.
Duke's fleet modernization program is a plan to invest in new power plants and upgrade other units to reduce carbon emissions.
"Duke Energy has invested $9 billion in the last 10 years to build several advanced natural gas and coal plants in North Carolina as well as Indiana," said Duke Energy's media spokesperson, Catherine Butler.
Butler confirmed that North and South Carolina customers using the new Sutton natural gas plant will experience a one percent increase on their bill beginning next June.
Twenty-five percent of Duke's coal fleets will retire. Duke says it will have retired more than half of that 25 percent by the end of this year. The corporation is starting a multi-year retiring process that will result in safely deconstructing the coal units and effectively closing the site’s coal ash basins to protect groundwater.
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