Progress Energy to retire four coal-fired plants by 2017

1 December 2009– Progress Energy Carolinas, a unit of Progress Energy, said that all of its remaining coal-fired plants in North Carolina without scrubbers will be retired by 2017. The plan includes 11 coal-fired units totaling 1,485 MW.

The plants scheduled for retirement are:

  • The 600 MW L.V. Sutton Plant, with an expected retirement date in 2014. The company is seeking approval to build a 600 MW natural gas-fired plant on the same site.

  • The 316 MW Cape Fear Plant, expected to shut down between 2013 and 2017. The company is looking into converting between 50 and 150 MW of capacity into biomass.

  • The 172 MW W.H. Weatherspoon Plant, and

  • The 397 MW H.F. Lee Plant, expected to retire in 2013.

The company’s 174 MW Robinson Plant in South Carolina is not affected by the announcement.

Three other coal-fired plants with scrubbers in North Carolina are expected to continue operations beyond 2017. They are the Roxboro Plant, the Mayo Plant and the Asheville Plant.

The plan was filed in response to a request by the N.C. Utilities Commission. The regulatory agency ordered the company to provide its retirement plans related to “unscrubbed” coal-fired units in North Carolina. The request was part of the commission’s approval in October of Progress Energy Carolinas’ plan to build a 950 MW gas-fired power plant in Wayne County, N.C.

The company said installing emission controls on older, smaller coal-fired units is expensive, including hundreds of millions of dollars per unit for flue-gas desulfurization equipment and additional expense for other technologies. Current and expected legislation affecting various pollutants will continue to increase the cost of coal-fired generation, particularly at smaller, older plants, the company said.
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