Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) told the South Carolina Public Service Commission in an Aug. 21 notice that it plans to apply in late 2015 or early 2016 for approval of a transmission line to serve its new 650-MW power plant.
The application will cover the Foothills Transmission Line and associated substation, needed to augment the company’s transmission capacity in western South Carolina and North Carolina. The commission plans a local hearing on Aug. 27 as part of an initial public outreach effort for the project.
The 230-kV, double-circuit transmission line will be about 45 miles long and will connect a new substation at Campobello, S.C., with a new power plant to be built in Asheville, N.C. This would be a 650-MW, gas-fired, combined-cycle facility. Duke said it is still working on the exact transmission line route. It said the routing process has gone so well that it now plans to announce the final route in early October of this year, instead of the end of 2015 as previously expected.
The website for the Foothills project notes that the 376-MW Asheville coal plant has served the region well since 1964, and will continue to serve customers until the new natural gas plant comes on line. Duke expects to retire the two Asheville coal units by early 2020.
The proposed 650-MW gas plant will be located at the current Asheville coal plant site. The new plant is scheduled to begin serving customers by late 2019.
The website said that Duke is investing approximately $320 million to build the transmission tie station near Campobello and the transmission line to the Asheville site. Related upgrades to transmission and substation facilities will also help overall system reliability and provide a more robust path to move power across the region, the company added.
Duke Energy said it also supports solar and other forms of renewable energy and is committed to installing a solar facility at the Asheville site after the ongoing coal ash excavation work is complete. The ash is being removed and buried elsewhere.