Coal Plant Decommissioning Program
Decommissioning Program: Behind the Scenes
Duke Energy is committed to providing affordable, reliable, increasingly clean electricity. Older, less efficient coal plants are being replaced by advanced technology, powered by natural gas and cleaner coal.
Part of this commitment includes safely dismantling these older plants, part of a complex, multiyear process known as decommissioning and demolition. By the end of 2013, Duke Energy retired units at nine coal-fired generation sites in the Carolinas. The long-term vision for sites with retired coal units across our system is to return them to ground level.
Understanding the process
During the early stages of the decommissioning and demolition project, we will remove chemicals and other materials, salvage what equipment we can recycle and repurpose at other sites and sell any scrap material. In the demolition and restoration phases, we will safely remove the powerhouse, chimneys and any auxiliary structures no longer needed and then fill, grade and seed the land.
This approach is best suited to ensure continued safety, security and environmental compliance at the site in the future, both for the company and the community. Duke Energy will continue to own and steward these properties, and some of them are home to other types of generation.
The decommissioning project also extends to some of our older natural gas-combustion turbine units across the generation fleet. These sites will move through a similar process as the coal-fired units.
Ash basin closures
Duke Energy is committed to effectively closing ash basins once they are no longer needed, with approval from state regulators. We have been evaluating multiple closure options to ensure we select a method that protects groundwater long term and is prudent for our customers and plant neighbors. In light of the Dan River ash release event, we are taking another look at all of our ash basins across the fleet. Before this event, our focus was on closing ash basins at the recently retired coal plants in North Carolina. This remains a high priority, and we will work through those steps with regulatory and legislative input to ensure our decisions protect the environment and our communities. For additional information, please visit our ash management page.