North Carolina commission lays out review schedule for Sutton ‘blackstart’ turbines

The North Carolina Utilities Commission on April 29 issued an order laying out the review schedule for an April 15 application from Duke Energy Progress (DEP) for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to construct two 42-MW simple-cycle combustion turbines at DEP’s existing L. V. Sutton Energy Complex near Wilmington, North Carolina.

DEP, which is a unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), says that the Sutton CTs will provide peaking generation, offsite power for the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, and blackstart capability in support of DEP’s restoration plan in the unlikely event of a grid collapse. In addition, the new Sutton CTs will replace three aging CTs at the Sutton site having a total capacity of 61 MW that have been serving these functions.

The Sutton CTs will be capable of burning natural gas or ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and all additional transmission facilities will be located on the present Sutton site. The Sutton CTs are scheduled to begin commercial operation in the summer of 2017.

The commission will hold a public witness hearing on June 3 at the New Hanover County Courthouse in Wilmington. An evidentiary hearing solely for the purpose of receiving expert testimony of the parties will be held on June 22 in a commission hearing room in Raleigh. The direct testimony and exhibits of the commission’s Public Staff and other intervenors needs to be filed by June 8. DEP may file rebuttal testimony and exhibits on or before June 15.

Said the April 15 application: “The suppliers of the aero-derivative fast-start units in the size range considered (40-50 MW each) are General Electric (‘GE’), PW Power Systems, and Siemens (formerly Rolls Royce). There are over 800 of the GE units in service including two (2) at Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC‘s W.S. Lee site in South Carolina and three (3) in Duke Energy Indiana, LLC. The GE fleet has over 8 million operating hours. With upgrades planned by Piedmont Natural Gas, on-site compression will not be required for the GE units.”

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.