Duke Energy Carolinas moving forward with 750-MW Lee project

Duke Energy Carolinas said May 16 that, with a regulatory approval now in hand, it will build and operate a 750-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle plant at the existing Lee station site in Anderson County, S.C.

The North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. will own 100 MW of the project.

The decision to move forward with this project is part of a comprehensive, long-term plan to add new generation, modernize the fleet, maintain a diverse fuel portfolio, and manage customer costs while delivering a high-quality, reliable power supply, said the Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) subsidiary.

Only days earlier another Duke unit said it plans to self-build more than 2,000 MW of new gas-fired capacity in Florida over the next few years.

“Natural gas-fired combined cycle plants are a good match to meet the significant energy needs of our customers over the next 15 years, and are expected to be an important part of the future Duke Energy Carolinas generation portfolio,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy state president–South Carolina. “They are very efficient in the production of electricity using natural gas as fuel and have very low plant emissions.”

The Public Service Commission of South Carolina approved the plant in April, and the company finalized plans to move forward with construction earlier in May. The company is in the process of procuring equipment and the contracts to begin construction so the project will be commercially available in November 2017. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2015. 

“The Lee site is a great location for a combined cycle plant,” Gillespy said. “Duke Energy will be able to leverage existing site infrastructure to minimize new generation project costs and impacts to the community and environment.”

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was taking public comment earlier this year on a draft prevention of significant deterioration permit for this project. As part of this PSD permit, the facility will be allowed to shut down existing coal-fired Boilers 1 and 2 at Lee, switch the existing coal-fired Boiler 3 to natural gas, and switch the existing oil-fired auxiliary boiler that serves Boiler 3 to natural gas.

The existing station is located near the Saluda River in Belton, S.C. It has a current capacity of 452 MW and has the following equipment: two 100-MW coal-fired boilers; one 170-MW coal-fired boiler; two 41-MW simple cycle combustion turbines; and associated auxiliary equipment.

The proposed project is for the installation of two General Electric 7FA.05 or two Siemens SGT-5000F(5) natural gas fired combustion turbine generators, each equipped with a duct-fired heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) that will provide steam to a common steam turbine generator. Additional proposed equipment include: one steam turbine generator; one natural gas-fired auxiliary boiler; two natural gas-fired fuel gas heaters; one diesel-fired emergency generator; one diesel-fired emergency fire water pump; one 8-cell cooling tower/inlet air chiller system; and one 12-cell mechanical draft cooling tower. Installation of the new turbines and auxiliary equipment will result in a nominal generating capacity of about 750 MW.

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.