Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) said Aug. 19 it is starting key tests at a new 600-MW combined-cycle natural gas power plant in North Carolina.
Duke is ready to start a “steam blow” cleaning process at the Sutton combined-cycle plant in Wilmington, N.C. Steam blows are critical to maintain the integrity and good working condition of the plant’s boiler and steam turbine.
Operational testing on the nearly-complete power plant began in July, Duke said.
Plant construction began two years ago, and neighbors can expect to see significant project milestones in the second half of this year. After nearly 60 years in service, the three coal units at Sutton will be retired this December once the new natural gas plant begins commercial operation.
Once the station achieves commercial operation, it will be staffed by about 40 engineers, operators and technicians. Approximately 65 percent of the staff has transferred from the retiring coal plant. Duke Energy invested nearly $600m in the Sutton plant project
Duke noted that neighbors could hear loud noise during the 10-day period in which the work is going on.
The Sutton Plant is also home to one of the company’s largest renewable-energy projects, a 1.2-MW solar array, Duke said on a company website.