Duke Energy Carolinas seeks okay for 21-MW CHP plant in North Carolina

Duke Energy Carolinas LLC applied Oct. 17 to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity authorizing the construction of a 21-MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility to be built on a site leased from Duke University in Durham County, North Carolina.

The facility will be constructed as a CHP on land leased for 35 years from the university. It will consist of a combustion turbine generator (CTG) for electricity production and a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) for steam production using waste heat from the CTG. The nominal generation capacity for the facility will be approximately 21 MW of electricity for DEC, 75,000 pounds per hour of steam for the university and 12,000 lbs/hr steam-equivalent for water heating for the university.

The facility is expected to operate al full load at all hours, with an annual capacity factor between 85% and 95%. The source of lhe facility’s fuel will be natural gas from Public Service Co. of North Carolina (PSNC). Additional equipment to support the facility will include building, stacks, fuel gas compressors and black-start capability.

The facility will interconnect to the adjacent 44-kV Duke University Station #4, which is jointly owned by DEC and the university. The expected useful life of the equipment is 35 years. If the commission approves this CPCN application, construction is anticipated to begin during 2017, with commercial operation beginning during the first or second quarter of 2019.

DEC said it began soliciting interest in CHP from existing large industrial, institutional, and military customers with high minimum steam needs in 2015, and identified the university as one of several interested prospects. CHP is financially beneficial to Duke University because this CHP project can produce and sell steam for less than the university’s ability to self-produce steam using a dedicated gas boiler. The facility will be treated according to traditional rate making conventions as a regulated, rate-based generating asset owned by DEC.

The university is also motivated by the energy security provided by the arrangement of electrical connections that would allow the facility to operate in an “islanded” mode independent of DEC’s electric grid in the event of a wide-spread outage caused by a hurricane or similar event. The additional cost required to enable this capability will be borne by Duke University as an extra facilities charge or similar mechanism.

The land surrounding the project site is used for university utility and facilities functions, including Station #4, Chilled Waler Plant #1, back-up diesel generator, vehicle and equipment storage garage, a student parking lot, and woodland.

DEC said it issued bid solicitations to qualified CTG vendors during the second quarter of 2016, with execution of contracts pending internal and regulatory approvals. Balance of plant equipment will be procured by the Engineer and/or Construction Contractor.

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.