The coal burn for Duke Energy Progress, formerly known as Progress Energy Carolinas, plunged in the July 2012-June 2013 period to 8.2 million tons, down from 9.3 million tons burned in the July 2011-June 2012 period.
Those figures are derived from fuel reports that the utility filed on Aug. 14 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission for the June 2013 period (including prior 12-month figures) and on Aug. 15, 2012, for the June 2012 period (including prior 12-month figures.
The average cost of coal purchased for the July 2012-June 2013 period was $3.76/mmBtu, little changed from the $3.77/mmBtu seen in the July 2011-June 2012 period.
The coal burn in the latest 12-month period was 8.2 million tons, with 7.8 million tons received, with the difference out of stockpile, with stocks falling from 2.3 million tons to begin the period to 1.9 million tons to end it. In the period the biggest capacity factor for a coal unit was 67% for Roxboro Unit 2 (667 MW), with the lowest of the operating units during the period at a 40% capacity factor for Asheville Unit 1 (196 MW).
In the July 2011-June 2012 period, the company took in 9.3 million tons of coal, burned 9.3 million tons, and kept its coal stockpile total at 2.3 million tons to start and end the period. The least used coal unit for the 12-month period of the ones that ran at all, Roxboro Unit 1 (374 MW), was at a capacity factor of 44%, while the most used at 68% was Roxboro Unit 2 (667 MW).
For comparison purposes, a well-maintained coal unit seeing strong demand should be able to achieve an 80% capacity factor in any given year.
In July 2012, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) took over Progress Energy, with Progress Energy Carolinas then becoming Duke Energy Progress. Since then, Duke has optimized the coal units of its Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) subsidiaries, trying to find the cheapest combination of generation.
DEC burned 11.4 million tons of coal during the July 2011-June 2012 period, then followed that up with a slightly improved 11.5 million tons of coal burned in the July 2012-June 2013 period, according to reports it filed with the North Carolina commission. As recently as calendar 2011, DEC burned 14.3 million tons of coal, so its coal burn lately has been depressed due to various factors like cheap natural gas, emissions control needs and coal unit shutdowns.