Duke Energy Progress (DEP) on March 28 filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission an annual progress report for the two 280-MW combined cycle natural gas-fueled electric generating units at the company’s Asheville Steam Electric Generating Plant in Buncombe County.
As noted in the filing, the Asheville Combined Cycle (ACC) Project is a nominal 560-MW dual-fuel generation facility construction project comprised of two separate 1×1 combined cycle units – 280 MW each – authorized to be built and placed in service by the end of 2019 as a component of the larger Western Carolinas Modernization Project (WCMP).
Progress on the ACC Project over the past year has focused on contract execution, detailed engineering, procurement activities for balance of plant equipment, remaining permitting activities, site prep, and planning for construction contractor mobilization to site.
DEP also said that it continues to monitor actual expenditures and forecast the project’s cost at completion on a monthly basis. At this time, the project’s cost at completion is forecast to be within the previously authorized and stated $893.2m filed in DEP’s CPCN application and found to be appropriate by the commission in its CPCN order, the company said.
Site prep has been completed and both DEP as well as CB&I North Carolina, Inc., have mobilized to the site. Construction underground and civil activities are in progress, DEP added, noting that in the upcoming year, it will continue to work with CB&I, the major equipment suppliers, and others to complete detailed engineering and continue construction of the facility.
Deliveries of major equipment to the site are planned to be complete in 2018, DEP said, noting that its commissioning team will begin mobilizing to the site mid-year.
In its filing, DEP also reported accomplishments to date on efforts to work with customers in the Western Region to reduce peak load through demand side management, energy efficiency, and other measures.
The company added that in 2017, the Energy Innovation Task Force – the advisory and innovation group of community leaders co-convened by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) – made progress toward achieving its objectives.
For instance, the task force – with support from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) – completed analysis to determine primary drivers of peak load growth in the DEP Western (DEP-W) service area. Analysis showed that residential heating load is the top contributor to peak load growth in the region. DEP added that the task force advised the convening partners to focus on increasing participation in energy efficiency programs, improving penetration of demand-side management programs, and expanding the application of renewables and other advanced solutions.
DEP noted that the task force also established goals; the near-term goal remains to reduce peak power demand by 17 MW per year through a combination of all strategies. The long-term goal is to create a cleaner, affordable, and smarter energy future for Asheville and Buncombe County, rooted in community engagement and collaboration, the company said.
DEP also discussed technology matters, noting that construction of the Mt. Sterling Microgrid project approved by the commission in 2017 has been completed. The microgrid is operating as intended with only a few minor issues encountered with control and monitoring equipment and software, the company said, adding that while the site is still connected to utility power, it will be permanently disconnected once all systems are confirmed to be working is intended.
DEP also noted that it is still Duke Energy’s plan to install as much solar PV on the Asheville Plant site as it will accommodate, with the expectation being that the site will accommodate between eight and 10 MW of solar capacity. Work is ongoing to identify sites to install the balance of solar PV to meet the 15 MW commitment that was made.
DEP added that AMI deployment in the DEP-W territory has been expedited; deployment is scheduled to begin in May, with completion by the middle of 2019.
Of utility-scale storage, DEP said that it intends to continue investing in multiple systems dispersed throughout its Western North Carolina service territory that will be located on property owned or leased by the company. DEP said that through a cost-effective and prudent battery storage deployment plan, it will evaluate the impacts of deploying batteries of a significant scale on the electric system, explore the nature of new offerings desired by customers, and fill knowledge gaps.
The current WCMP battery storage deployment plan includes a total battery storage capacity of about 50 MW owned and operated by the company, DEP said, adding that it plans to connect each facility directly to the grid – in front of the meter – at the appropriate voltage and interconnection points.
Among other things, the company noted that it intends to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the costs incurred in connection with the deployment plan are reasonable and for the provision of adequate, reliable, and cost-effective electricity to its customers. The company said that it anticipates to begin building the initial systems in 2018, and will ramp up deployments over the next five years at other locations on the company’s transmission and distribution system.