Duke Energy Progress has received regulatory approval for an estimated $1 billion gas-fired project as the company prepares to retire its Asheville coal-fired plant.
On Monday, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) approved Duke’s plans to build two 280-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fired units to replace the 376-MW coal plant, which is being shuttered by 2020.
Construction is expected to begin in 2016, with the units entering service by late 2019. The project also includes upgrades to the Asheville plant site’s existing transmission equipment.
Duke Energy Progress is working with Asheville, Buncombe County and surrounding communities to reduce energy use in the nine-county Duke Energy Progress-West region, which services about 350,000 people. If those efforts are successful, the company will delay or cancel plans to file a future Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) application for the commercial operation of the Asheville 186-MW simple-cycle power plant.
Duke Energy Progress has plans to file a future CPCN application for approval of a minimum of 15 MW of new solar capacity over the next seven years after the Asheville coal units are decommissioned and coal ash excavation is complete.
The company also plans to seek approval for a minimum of 5 MW of utility-scale electric storage over the next seven years.