Duke Energy said Thursday it has added three major power plants in recent weeks, including the Cliffside coal-burning power plant that many believe will be the last coal burner approved in the state.
The announcement of 2,365 megawatts of new generation anticipates Charlotte-based Duke’s request for rate increase, which is expected in February. The cost of the plants will be part of the rate case.
Two of the power plants, in Mooresboro and Eden, belong to the Duke electric utility. Another, near Goldsboro, belongs to Raleigh-based Progress Energy, a Duke subsidiary that already has a rate increase request pending at the N.C. Utilities Commission.
The $2.2 billion Cliffside coal plant, west of Charlotte in the Appalachian foothills, was mired in controversy from the outset and opposed by hundreds of residents in public comments and letters sent to the N.C. Utilities Commission. The commission in 2007 approved only one of the two coal burners Duke had requested.
Cliffside is touted by Duke officials as a state-of-the-art energy project and the cleanest pulverized coal plant in the country. The 825-megawatt facility began commercially generating electricity Dec. 31.
Duke last month also added the 620-megawatt natural gas-powered Dan River plant in Eden.
And the company listed the H.F. Lee natural gas plant as one of its newest additions. The Progress Energy facility near Goldsboro began generating commercial power Dec. 31.
The natural gas plants are part of a strategy by Duke and Progress to replace coal-burning plants with more efficient facilities.
John Murawski (Raleigh) News & Observer