Duke Energy Progress' (NYSE: DUK) demolition specialist this morning imploded the smokestacks at the retired H.F. Lee coal-fired power plant as part of the company's ongoing effort to transition to cleaner energy sources. (See video of the implosion below)
This was the first of two implosion events that will occur at the site. The second will demolish the boilers and is scheduled for the spring of 2014.
Duke Energy's ultimate goal for retired coal-fired sites such as H.F. Lee is to dismantle the equipment and buildings, and restore the site to ground level. After the second implosion event, Duke Energy will be able to complete demolition activity and begin restoring the land.
Restoration involves filling, grading and seeding the land. The company plans to complete this phase by late-2014 and will continue to own and steward the land in the future.
The coal plant served the region for more than 60 years and today's event marks a milestone in the history of the site.
Duke Energy replaced the coal plant with a new 920-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired combined cycle plant that began serving customers in December 2012.
Duke Energy's investment in five new plants, including the one located at the H.F. Lee Energy Complex, totals $9 billion. The new, state-of-the-art technology allows the company to retire approximately 3,400 MW of older coal units by the end of 2013. That number will grow to nearly 6,300 MW over the next few years.
These retired plants will enter the decommissioning and demolition program and move through a process similar to H.F. Lee's.