ASHEVILLE, N.C., June 9, 2003 — Governor Mike Easley on Monday joined leaders from Progress Energy Carolinas, the city of Asheville, Buncombe County and other western North Carolina communities at the company’s Asheville Plant to observe the first anniversary of the state’s landmark Clean Smokestacks legislation and discuss the company’s investment of $813 million in emission reductions.
Progress Energy announced that the company’s Asheville Plant will be the first in North Carolina to install controls to meet the legislation’s requirements for sulfur dioxide reduction. In meeting the stricter guidelines of the state’s clean air legislation, Progress Energy Carolinas will invest an additional $175 million over the next six years at the Asheville Plant.
By the fall of 2005, the company will install the state’s first flue-gas desulfurization unit, commonly referred to as a scrubber, to remove sulfur dioxide from the emissions of unit 1. Preliminary work is already under way. The scrubber on unit 2 is scheduled to be in operation in the spring of 2007. A scrubber removes sulfur dioxide by injecting a mixture of limestone and water into the flue gas after it leaves the boiler.
In addition to the two units at Asheville, Progress Energy will be installing sulfur dioxide scrubbers on nine other coal-fired units in North Carolina. Upon completion, the company will have invested more than $813 million in clean air technologies at six North Carolina coal-fired power plants in support of the sweeping state legislation. That investment is in addition to the $440 million the company has invested in other clean air improvements.
“Progress Energy is proud of its role in making North Carolina’s landmark clean air legislation a reality,” said Lloyd Yates, vice president for fossil generation at Progress Energy. “The ‘Clean Smokestacks’ legislation provides a critical regulatory framework that allows Progress Energy to continue what we have started and dramatically accelerate environmental improvements at plants across the state.”
In the late 1990s, Progress Energy was the first utility in the United States to pilot innovative environmental equipment, developed in Scandinavia and eastern Europe, at two power plants in Eastern North Carolina. The Asheville Plant was the first in the Southeast to install a combination of technologies that have already reduced nitrogen oxides emissions significantly.
Progress Energy will also be installing additional equipment to reduce nitrogen oxides at the Asheville Plant. The company has plans to install a technology called selective catalytic reduction, commonly known as SCRs, on both Asheville units — one in 2006 and the other in 2009. SCRs separate nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. When the installations are complete, the company will have reduced nitrogen oxides emissions by 92 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 93 percent, based on 1995 levels.
The company installed the first SCR technology in North Carolina and put it in operation at its Roxboro Power Plant in Person County in 2001, a year before the North Carolina clean air bill was signed. SCRs have since been installed on two other units in Person County and a third is under construction. Progress Energy has also expanded the use of the technologies the company brought over from Europe to achieve additional reductions in nitrogen oxides emissions at some of its smaller power plants.
“North Carolina has the most aggressive clean air policies in the nation and it is largely because of the all the hard work and ingenuity of companies like Progress Energy,” said Governor Mike Easley. “This landmark agreement gives our children and grandchildren the chance to enjoy the same beautiful heritage our generation enjoyed.”
Progress Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN – News), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.3 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and serves a territory encompassing over 34,000 square miles including the cities of Raleigh, Wilmington, Fayetteville and Asheville in North Carolina and Florence and Sumter in South Carolina. For more information about Progress Energy Carolinas, visit the company’s Web site at: http://www.progress-energy.com.