Duke Energy implodes smokestacks for shut Lee coal units

A Duke Energy Progress demolition specialist the morning of Dec. 20 imploded the smokestacks at the retired H.F. Lee Steam Plant as part of the company’s ongoing effort to transition to cleaner energy sources.

This was the first of two implosion events that will occur at the site, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) noted. The second will demolish the boilers and is scheduled for the spring of 2014.

Duke Energy’s ultimate goal for retired coal-fired sites such as H.F. Lee is to dismantle the equipment and buildings, and restore the site to ground level. After the second implosion event, Duke Energy will be able to complete demolition activity and begin restoring the land.

Restoration involves filling, grading and seeding the land. The company plans to complete this phase by late-2014 and will continue to own and steward the land in the future.

Duke Energy replaced the coal plant with a new 920-MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant that began serving customers in December 2012.

Duke Energy’s investment in five new plants, including the one located at the H.F. Lee, totals $9bn. The new, state-of-the-art technology allows the company to retire approximately 3,400 MW of older coal units by the end of 2013. That number will grow to nearly 6,300 MW over the next few years.

These retired plants will enter the decommissioning and demolition program and move through a process similar to H.F. Lee’s.

Duke Energy Progress, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electricity and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

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.