Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) announced plans to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) to remove coal ash stored at the Asheville Steam Electric Plant, Dan River Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station and L.V. Sutton Steam Electric Plant facilities.
Plans and permits need to be approved by NC DENR before any excavation work can begin. Under North Carolina's Coal Ash Management Act, all basins at those sites must be closed by Aug. 1, 2019.
"This milestone reflects Duke Energy's commitment to moving forward as quickly as practicable in a safe and environmentally sound way to address the enormous task of long-term coal ash storage in North Carolina,” said Lynn Good, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy. "We are devoted to being good neighbors to the communities we serve and good custodians of our shared environment."
During the initial phase, Duke Energy will move approximately 5.1 million tons of ash within 12 to 18 months following an approval from NC DENR. Duke will transfer the ash to be reused in engineered structural fill projects, including the ongoing structural fill project at the Asheville Regional Airport and two new projects to be developed at open-pit clay mines in Chatham and Lee counties. Phase 1 also includes a plan for the Roanoke Cement Co. to use thousands of tons of ash in the creation of concrete. Additional ash excavated will be stored in an existing Jetersville, Virginia, lined landfill.
"We think these excavation plans go beyond the specific information requested by the state, demonstrating our commitment to closing ash basins in a way that continues to protect the environment, minimizes the impact to neighboring communities and complies with North Carolina's new coal ash management policies," said John Elnitsky, Duke Energy's Senior Vice President of Ash Basin Strategy. "We are prepared to proceed as soon as we have the necessary approvals from the state. The initial work at these facilities will help us assess various approaches for the closure plans at our remaining 10 North Carolina facilities."
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