Duke Energy Carolinas coal burn picks up a bit more in 2014

The Duke Energy Carolinas unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) burned 12 million tons of coal in 2014, took delivery of about 12.1 million tons, and began the year at 3.5 million tons of coal inventory and ended 2014 with 3.7 million tons of coal stockpiles.

Those figures are in a monthly fuel report for December 2014 that the utility filed on Feb. 11 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The report also contains some figures for all of calendar 2014.

By contrast, in 2013, Duke Energy Carolinas burned down a fairly big chunk of its bloated coal inventories, with the stockpiles beginning that year at 4.7 million tons and ending 2013 at 3.5 million tons. That is according to figures the company filed in Feburary 2012 at the North Carolina commission. Duke Energy Carolinas began 2013 with 4.7 million tons of coal in stock, received nearly 10 million tons during the year, burned 11.2 million tons, and ended the year at 3.5 million tons.

In contrast to 2013, Duke Energy Carolinas had no luck burning down its coal stockpiles in 2012, with those stocks actually growing from 4.1 million tons at the beginning of that year, to 4.7 million tons as of the end of 2012. That is according to a fuel report that the utility filed in February 2013 with the North Carolina commission. The utility burned only 10.7 million tons of coal in 2012, and took in 11.3 million tons, thus the growth in the coal stockpiles during the course of that year.

Looking at just coal burn, the company consumed 12 million tons in 2014, up from 11.2 million tons in 2013 and 10.7 million tons in 2012.

The Feb. 11 fuel report also contains other figures for 2014. During 2014, the utility’s baseload coal units ran at these capacity factors:

  • Belews Creek Unit 1, 1,110 MW (78.1%);
  • Belews Creek Unit 2, 1,110 MW (60%);
  • Cliffside Unit 6, 844 MW (62.8%); and
  • Marshall Unit 4, 660 MW (22.3%).

Notable is that Marshall Unit 3, considered a baseload unit in the 2013 figures, is now considered an intermediate unit. The intermediate coal units and their 2014 capacity factors were:

  • Cliffside Unit 5, 555 MW, (29.1%); and
  • Marshall Unit 3, 658 MW, (74.7%).

The “cycling” coal units at Duke Energy Carolinas are Allen 1-5, Lee 1-3 and Marshall 1-2, with the Marshall units getting the highest capacity factors in 2014 (as high as 60.5%), the Allen units getting some use (as high as 27.5%) and the Lee units getting little use (as low as 5.2%). Lee coal units 1 and 2 were retired in November 2014. 

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.