North Carolina commission okays ownership change for defunct coal plants

The North Carolina Utilities Commission on April 28 approved an ownership change for two coal-fired power plants, one of which is being switched to biomass as its fuel and one of which has a future that is currently in limbo.

On March 27, North Carolina Renewable Power-Elizabethtown LLC (NCRP-Elizabethtown), North Carolina Renewable Power-Lumberton LLC (NCRP-Lumberton), East Carolina Energy Investments LLC (East Carolina Energy), and Lumberton Investments 1 LLC (Lumberton Investments) filed a petition requesting that the commission approve: the transfer of the generating facility and the associated certificate of public convenience and necessity granted to East Carolina Energy to NCRP-Elizabethtown; and the transfer of the generating facility and the associated certificate granted to Lumberton Investments to NCRP-Lumberton.

The certificates for the 35-MW Elizabethtown and 35-MW Lumberton facilities were initially granted to Cogentrix of North Carolina in 1984. The coal-fired facilities were built as cogeneration facilities that were qualifying facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. Over the years, the certificates were transferred several times to various Cogentrix affiliates and others. In 2001, the certificates were reissued as merchant plant certificates subject to several conditions.

The Elizabethtown facility ceased generating electricity in 2009. The Lumberton facility also ceased generating electricity in 2009.

NCRP-Elizabethtown was formed for the purpose of acquiring certain personal property owned by East Carolina Energy, including portions of the Elizabethtown facility and the associated certificate that are the subject of the petition. The petition further states that NCRP-Lumberton was formed for the purpose of acquiring certain real and personal property owned by Lumberton Investments, including portions of the Lumberton facility and the associated certificate that are the subject of the petition. Both NCRP-Elizabethtown and NCRP-Lumberton are wholly-owned operating entities of GRP North Carolina LLC, which is wholly owned by Georgia Renewable Power LLC.

The petition states that NRCP-Lumberton is retrofitting the Lumberton facility to use poultry waste and woody biomass as fuel. NRCP-Lumberton will seek registration of the facility as a new renewable energy facility by this state commission and certification as a qualifying facility by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “The future of the Elizabethtown facility is unknown at this time; NCRP-Elizabethtown may remove the assets for use in other states or may retrofit the facility to use a renewable resource,” the April 28 order noted.

A company contact is: John C. Colucci, North Carolina Renewable Power-Elizabethtown LLC, 2100 SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 585, Birmingham, AL 35209, ccolucci@greenfuelsenergy.com, (609) 389-2813.

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.