North Carolina regulators have given the OK for Charlotte-based Duke Energy to purchase natural gas from PSNC Energy for a proposed $750 million power plant. A formal order approving the contract is expected this week.
The N.C. Utilities Commission on Monday unanimously approved the contract, the details of which are confidential.
Duke is expected to ask regulators next month for permission to construct the 600-MW Asheville Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Plant, which will replace its existing 376-MW coal-fired plant.
Among the company’s future plans related to the new gas plant, seeking approval from regulators in North and South Carolina to construct a 45-mile transmission line stretching from the Asheville plant to a new switching station in Campobello, South Carolina.
Duke says the "Foothills Transmission Project" is necessary to improve energy reliability. Residents, however, say the line will damage environmentally sensitive areas, threaten tourism and drop property values.
In the meantime, PSNC has plans to replace a portion of the Ashville pipeline and build additional compression stations to increase capacity.