Progress Energy’s Lee coal plant targeted to close by 2013

Progress Energy Carolinas is expected to meet its 2013 air compliance requirements under the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act through the retirement of the coal-fired Lee power plant and its replacement with a combined-cycle natural gas-fired plant.

Progress Energy Carolinas, a unit of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), and Duke Energy Carolinas, part of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), made that point in June 1 filings at the North Carolina Utilities Commission of a Clean Smokestacks joint update report. The joint report was done since the two companies have an application before the commission to allow them to merge.

In 2013, Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Carolinas must reduce their annual SO2 emissions to 80,000 tons and 50,000 tons, respectively, making for a combined yearly cap of 130,000 tons. Duke’s 2011 SO2 emissions are well below its cap at 22,038 tons, while Progress Energy’s 2011 SO2 emissions were near the 2013 cap at 51,416 tons. The planned retirement of three Lee units gets Progress Energy under the cap. The three Lee units are Unit 1 (74 MW), Unit 2, (77 MW) and Unit 3 (246 MW).

While the Clean Smokestacks Act puts the utilities in good shape when it comes to new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air rules, the report did note that if the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) survives a current federal court challenge, reductions beyond those required by the North Carolina law would be needed.

Duke and Progress have installed SO2 scrubbers on a number of coal units to meet the needs of the North Carolina law. Duke’s installed scrubbers are on Allen Units 1-5, Belews Creek Units 1-2, Cliffside Units 5-6 and Marshall Units 1-4. Progress has installed scrubbers at Asheville, Mayo and Roxboro.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.