Duke utilities seek approval of grid study on Asheville repower project

Filed Sept. 9 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission was a request from Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress for approval of their proposed Affected System Impact Study Agreement, which covers interconnection study work to be done related to gas-fired capacity to be added at the Asheville coal plant.

Under the agreement, Duke Energy Progress is proposing to develop two 280-MW combined cycle natural gas-fired generation facilities, which will be located at the Asheville Energy Complex and interconnect to the Duke Energy Carolinas transmission system at two different interconnection voltages. The combined effect of this output must be studied by Duke Energy Carolinas.

The study work would include an assessment of whether any network upgrades to the Duke Energy Carolinas transmission system may be required to mitigate the impacts resulting from such proposed interconnection.

One of these facilities is identified as queue number 368 and will tie into a 115 kV line in the Asheville Energy Complex. The other facility iis dentified as queue number 369 and will tie into a 230 kV line in the Asheville Energy Complex. The queue dates of the two requests are both Dec. 15, 2015.

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress are both subsidiaries of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK).

Duke Energy reported in its Aug. 4 quarterly Form 10-Q filing that it is making progress on working through opposition to its Western Carolinas Modernization Project, which involves this repowering of the coal-fired Asheville plant in western North Carolina. In November 2015, in response to community feedback, Duke Energy Progress announced a revised Western Carolinas Modernization Plan with an estimated cost of $1.1 billion. The revised plan includes retirement of the existing Asheville coal-fired plant, the construction of two 280-MW combined-cycle natural gas plants having dual fuel capability, with the option to build a third natural gas simple cycle unit in 2023 based upon the outcome of initiatives to reduce the region’s power demand.

The revised plan includes upgrades to existing transmission lines and substations, but eliminates the need for a new transmission line and a new substation associated with the project in South Carolina. The revised plan has the same overall project cost as the original plan and the plans to install solar generation remain unchanged. Duke Energy Progress has also proposed to add a pilot battery storage project. These investments will be made within the next seven years. Duke Energy Progress is also working with the local natural gas distribution company to upgrade an existing natural gas pipeline to serve the natural gas plant.

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.