Duke Energy implodes structures at retired Dan River coal plant

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) said Oct. 31 that at the Dan River Steam Station in North Carolina, an early-morning implosion the prior day brought down the plant’s power house and three boilers.

A subsequent implosion on Oct. 31 brought down the remaining precipitator. The two implosions were the culmination of nearly two years of preparation and mechanical demolition at the retired coal-fired plant, the site of an infamous coal ash slurry spill earlier this decade.

The 276-MW Dan River Steam Station began service in 1949 and was considered state-of-the-art technology in its day. It was retired in 2012, the same year that a new 620-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle plant came into service at the site. The plant’s retirement was part of the company’s efforts to enhance service to customers by replacing older, less efficient coal units with cleaner, more efficient natural gas technology.

To date, Duke Energy has retired seven of 14 coal plants in North Carolina.

In addition to demolishing the coal plant, work continues to excavate coal ash and safely close ash basins at the Dan River site. Coal ash from seven decades of plant operations is currently stored in two ash basins and a dry ash storage area on site. Crews have moved more than 750,000 tons of coal ash by rail during the last year from the Dan River site to the Maplewood Landfill, a fully-lined storage facility in Amelia County, Va.

About half of the approximately 3 million tons of coal ash at the Dan River Steam Station will be taken to this landfill in central Virginia. Remaining ash will be stored dry in a new fully-lined landfill under construction on plant property. Ash storage areas at the site are expected to be fully excavated by August 2019 as part of a comprehensive initiative to safely close all ash basins across Duke Energy’s six-state service area.

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.