Coal-fired power plants to be retired Oct. 1

Progress Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), will officially retire two coal-fired power plants Oct. 1, a plan the utility announced in July as part of its ongoing fleet-modernization program.

The utility will close the 316 MW Cape Fear power plant, near Moncure, N.C., and the 177 MW H.B. Robinson Unit 1 power plant, near Hartsville, S.C.

The Cape Fear plant was the utility's first coal-fueled facility, built in 1923. A total of six coal-fired units were located at the site, the last two completed in 1956 and 1958. At that time, the Cape Fear plant was the largest power plant on the utility's system. Two of Cape Fear's six coal-fired units were retired in 1977 and two in 2011. The last two units will close Oct. 1. Along with the coal units, one of four oil-fueled combustion-turbine (CT) units on the site is also being retired Oct. 1. The remaining three CT units will remain open, though their operation will generally be limited to periods of high electricity demand.

The H.B. Robinson Unit 1 power plant is Progress Energy Carolinas' only coal-fired power plant in South Carolina. The Robinson coal unit retirement does not affect the 724 MW Robinson nuclear plant on the same site, which is licensed for operation through July 2030.

Progress said all employees at Cape Fear and Robinson Unit 1 electing to stay with the company have been able to do so through the company's redeployment efforts.

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