NTE Energy seeks North Carolina nod for 480-MW gas project

NTE Carolinas LLC on April 25 asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission for approval to construct a 480-MW combined cycle natural gas-fired facility in Cleveland County in western North Carolina.

The project, called the Kings Mountain Energy Center (KMEC), will provide needed baseload, intermediate and peak generating capacity for a fast-growing region of the Carolinas, the application noted. NTE said it has reviewed the integrated resource plans of Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC), Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and has identified a substantial need for additional sources of capacity and energy in the region. DEC states its need for additional capacity to be 4,164 MW by 2028, 4,722 MW for DEP by 2027, and 1,693 MW for SCE&G by 2027.

Crossing the proposed power plant site is DEC’s Sampson 230-kV transmission line, a DEC 44-kV transmission line, a Rutherford EMC distribution line and Williams’ Transcontinental (Transco) natural gas pipeline. KMEC will be directly interconnected to the Transco pipeline system. NTE said it is currently completing the interconnection process with Transco, and completing the associated interconnection agreements.

NTE’s natural gas procurement strategy for KMEC includes procuring firm delivered natural gas service priced at a Gas Daily index representative of the Kings Mountain delivery location. The natural gas supplier will be responsible for delivering firm delivered natural gas supply to KMEC and KMEC will not hold, or have the fixed cost associated with, firm transport capacity on Transco. NTE is currently negotiating final terms and conditions with a short list of two natural gas suppliers. NTE said it is also in discussions with the City of Kings Mountain Energy Services–Natural Gas Division, which will likely serve as the distribution company for KMEC.

The project generation output will connect to the transmission grid at an on-site, DEC-owned switchyard, tied into DEC’s Sampson 230-kV transmission line.

NTE says it is in discussions with power off-take customers

“KMEC is projected to be a regional resource and part of the solution to the growing, incremental need for capacity and energy,” the application said. “NTE is in discussions with co-ops, municipalities, and investor owned utilities in the region, having received several executed Letters of Intent from interested wholesale purchasing entities and are in discussions regarding draft Power Purchase Agreements.”

Construction of the Kings Mountain project may begin as early as June 2015, assuming timely authorization to begin manufacture of the turbine units, acquisition of air permits, etc. The entire project may be completed as early as March 2018.

The combined cycle combustion turbine (CCCT) facility will consist of one combustion turbine (CT), one steam turbine (ST) and two electric generators (TGs) that will be arranged in a one-on-one configuration. The CT will be directly connected to the TG. Hot exhaust gas from the CT will be directed to a heat-recovery steam generator (HRSG). Steam produced by the HRSG will be directed to the steamturbine. The steam turbine will be directly connected to its own TG.

NTE Development Co. LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTE Energy LLC and the parent company of NTE Carolinas LLC, will seek to raise equity to finance the development and construction of a 1,230 MW portfolio of natural gas-fired generation facilities, comprised of three projects, one of which is KMEC. The other two projects are not further identified in the application.

NTE Development has engaged Whitehall Capital Markets LLC as financial advisor to raise equity for the portfolio. Whitehall will identify investors who are interested in joining NTE in late-stage development of these three state-of-the-art gas-fired projects in strategic locations. NTE expects the equity raise portion of the process to be complete by July 2014, with the raising of project-level debt beginning in August 2014.

NTE Energy announced Feb. 25 that it plans to develop, own and operate the Kings Mountain Energy Center project. Two other recent projects for the company have been:

  • NTE Ohio LLC on April 1 filed a pre-application letter at the Ohio Power Siting Board for a 540-MW, natural gas-fired plant to be located at an AK Steel site in Middletown in Butler County.
  • NTE Energy said Feb. 18 that it plans to develop, own and operate the 270-MW Pecan Creek Energy Center in Texas as a fast-start peaker.
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.