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Industry News

Federal Judge Requires New Emissions Review on Coal Unit at Cliffside Steam Station

LCG, December 5, 2008--Duke Energy Carolinas was ordered Tuesday by a federal judge to submit its proposed coal-fired unit to a new state environmental review of the mercury emissions and related control technologies to be employed at the facility. The decision allows Duke to continue construction of the new unit, located at the existing Cliffside Steam Station in North Carolina.

The ruling results from a lawsuit brought on by environmental groups. Duke is now directed to perform a "maximum achievable control technology" (MACT) assessment of the mercury emissions from the new, 825-MW electric generating unit. Duke has 10 days from the ruling to submit a full mercury-control assessment to the North Carolina environmental regulators, with the full review consistent with federal requirements to be completed within 60 days. Duke stated it plans to appeal the ruling.

In February 2007, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Division of Air Quality issued the "final" air permit for the new coal-fired unit. At that time, the new unit was scheduled to begin generating power in 2012. When the new unit commences operations, Duke will retire four older, less efficient units at Cliffside that have a capacity of about 200 MW. Duke also agreed to retire an additional 800 MW of aging coal units in North Carolina, with the retirements. Thus, after adding 800 MW of efficient new capacity with relatively low emissions, Duke will retire a total of 1,000 MW of older, less efficient coal-fired capacity between 2012 and 2018.

In March 2007, the North Carolina Utilities Commission issued a summary "Notice of Decision" to approve a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for Duke Energy Carolinas to build only one of two proposed 800-MW, coal-fired units at the Cliffside Steam Station. Prior to that decision, the plan called for the first unit to commence operations in 2011.

Duke originally filed its CPCN with the Commission in May 2005.
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