Duke contemplates retiring additional coal-fired capacity in response to coal ash spill

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Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is considering closing units at two coal-fired plants in response to the coal ash spill at Dan River in North Carolina, according to a report from the Charlotte Business Journal.

In a letter to North Carolina officials, Duke CEO Lynn Good wrote Duke is prepared to close the 530-MW Unit 5 at the James E. Rogers Energy Complex, formerly known as Cliffside Steam Station, and the two-unit 376-MW Asheville Plant if the open pit ponds at those sites cannot be converted to safer dry-storage ash basins, according to the Business Journal. Duke is also moving ash from ponds at its shuttered Dan  River and Riverbend steam stations to lined storage within two to five years.

A spokesperson for Duke told the Business Journal the company is in the very early stages of looking at the ponds and the units. The closings are not in the current 15-year plan for either Duke Energy Carolinas or Duke Energy Progress, according to the Business Journal.

Both facilities have had emissions control technology installed in the past 10 years. The Asheville Plant had flue gas desulfurization units, known as scrubbers, begin operating in one unit in 2005 and in the other unit in 2006. Duke has also installed a selective catalytic reduction unit at the site.

The company installed an SCR system at Unit 5 of the Rogers Energy Complex in 2002 and installed a scrubber on the unit in 2010.

The Rogers Energy Complex also houses a new 825-MW Unit 6, a $1.8 billion near ultra-supercritical unit with 99 percent SO2 removal and 90 percent mercury removal over a wide range of fuels.  Unit 6 began commercial operation on Dec. 30, 2012.

 

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