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W.C. Beckjord Station Retirement Plans » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Was the plant retired because of the oil spill in August 2014?

Since 2011, all units of the plant have been slated for retirement before year-end 2014. The company had decided to move forward with the retirement of the two remaining coal-fired units at Beckjord on Sept. 1. Because the retirement of units 5 and 6 was imminent, we concluded it was not practical to bring the units back to an operating state after the outage resulting from the Aug. 18 diesel fuel spill.

Can anything be done from a community standpoint to stop this from happening?

The simple answer is “no.” The company announced its intent to retire the Beckjord plant in 2011, when it became clear the capital investment that would be required to upgrade or retrofit the more than 60-year-old plant to comply with federal emission regulations was simply not an economically viable solution for our customers.

Why is it not economically feasible to install environmental controls like scrubbers, etc. at the plant?

Due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s increasingly stringent regulations on power plant emissions, Duke Energy Ohio three years ago (2011) announced its intent to retire Beckjord Station’s coal-fired units 1 through 6. Beckjord is more than 60 years old and the cost of installing emissions equipment would not be an economically viable solution for the company or our customers. Furthermore, the coal-fired units at Beckjord are generally smaller and the site itself is constrained in terms of space, making it very difficult to retrofit the plant with controls.

What will happen to Beckjord’s employees?

Beyond those necessary for the transition to decommissioning, current Beckjord employees will be relocated to nearby Duke Energy Ohio plants.

Will Duke Energy help the area from an economic development perspective?

Beckjord Station has been an integral part of the community and the company for more than 60 years. After the plant is retired, we will continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers and will remain a strong community partner.

What is the future plan for the property?

For the foreseeable future, the site will remain under Duke Energy ownership and will continue to be used for utility-related purposes. Four oil-fired combustion turbines (CT) on the site, which are capable of producing 244 MW of electricity and are primarily used for generating power during periods of high demand, are planned to continue operations. Also, certain substation and transmission or distribution electrical equipment will remain on site and in operation.

Can the property ever be sold for future development?

Ongoing use of portions of the site for utility purposes is likely to limit the redevelopment potential of the site for the foreseeable future.

How long would cleanup and closure take at the site?

Decommissioning is a comprehensive and methodical process that takes several years. During this process, Duke Energy will continue to ensure safety, security and environmental compliance at the site.

Will a new replacement plant be built at the site?

There are no plans to build a replacement.

What will happen to the ash ponds at the site?

We plan to close the ash basins once they are no longer needed, in close coordination with state and federal regulators. We will submit closure plans to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as required regarding the ash basin closures.

The ash basins provide an important storm water management function for the site and will need to continue operating for a limited time after the plant retires. We are evaluating multiple closure options to ensure we select methods that provide long-term water quality protection, while balancing the many interests of our customers. Duke Energy will continue monitoring groundwater and actively managing the site for many years after decommissioning.

What is the anticipated property tax impact of the retirement on the area?

Duke Energy Ohio will continue to pay property taxes, at a value set by the state of Ohio, until decommissioning is complete and the assets are removed from the property. Property tax will likely be reduced in the first year following the retirement of the coal-fired units. Because the state is still calculating the 2014 value, we don’t know conclusively what the company’s property taxes will be in 2014-15.