Background Coal-Fired Plants
Coal fuels more than half of electricity Americans use in this country. The U.S. has the world’s largest supply of recoverable reserves—more plentiful than domestic oil or natural gas. While Duke Energy’s electric generation is rooted in hydroelectricity, coal-fired units followed in the 1920s as the demand for electrifying homes, businesses and industries flourished.
The cost-effectiveness of using coal as a fuel source keeps it an attractive option as Duke Energy works to maintain affordability and reliability for customers. All fuel sources have trade-offs, and coal is no exception. Duke Energy works diligently to ensure our coal-fired plants comply with all state and federal environmental permits and that we carefully manage coal combustion residuals and potential impacts to air, water and land.
We monitor operations at our facilities with robust environmental sampling of water and aquatic life. We also have an aggressive fleet modernization program under way that has upgraded coal-fired units with sophisticated air quality controls, while we plan for the upcoming retirement of older, less efficient units. This allows coal generation in the Duke Energy fleet to get progressively cleaner, while we continue to invest in other generation sources, such as natural gas, new nuclear, wind, solar and biomass.