Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen to Beckjord’s employees?
At this time, we are uncertain as to the number of positions that would be impacted by the retirement of coal-fired Units 1 through 6 at Beckjord Station. Management is currently considering several options to address the potential impacts, including identifying opportunities to redeploy affected employees in other areas of the company. We will meet with union leadership regarding this issue and continue to abide by the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
What is the anticipated property tax impact of the retirement on the area?
Property tax is estimated to be reduced $1.5 million in the first year following the retirement of the coal-fired units.
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. The Combustion Turbine (CT) units will continue to be operated as needed for electric generating purposes, and certain substation and transmission or distribution electrical equipment will likely remain onsite and in operation.
Can the property ever be sold for future development?
The property could be sold for future development if the right opportunity presented itself. However, 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?
The anticipated future use of the site will determine how long closure of the plant will take. It will most likely take years to close the site. A closure plan will be put in place when it is determined what possible future uses there may be for the station and the station property.
Will Duke Energy help the area from an economic development perspective?
Duke Energy is proactively involved in various economic development activities in the entirety of its service territory. Consideration for other uses for the Beckjord site will be evaluated at a more appropriate time.
Can anything be done from a community standpoint to stop this from happening?
The simple answer is “no.” EPA rulemaking with the greatest potential impact on Beckjord operations is in progress and would result in emission reductions requirements at Beckjord that cannot be economically met. While the Utility MACT rule will be challenged in court, there is little expectation that the implementation of the rule will be delayed. As a result, we will need to begin implementing our compliance strategy to retire Beckjord right away.
What can Duke Energy do to create more opportunities in the area?
Duke Energy works closely with the Clermont County Office of Community and Economic Development and benefits from its success. In addition, Duke Energy Ohio’s Electric Security Plan filing proposes mechanisms for increased economic development funding for the region.
How will Duke Energy meet the energy needs of the region after retiring 860 megawatts of generating capacity?
In a recent filing to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the company proposed to meet its customers need for energy over an extended period by conducting competitive auctions. Even with these auctions, customers will be able to select their energy supplier. Capacity will be supplied using the company’s other existing assets, including the Zimmer Station located in nearby Moscow, Ohio, and in the near term, purchases from other suppliers. Over the long term, the capacity from our other assets could be coupled with a new, combined cycle generating facility to provide our customers an adequate and stable supply. In fact, our resource plan concludes that, over the long term, a new combined cycle plant is preferred over market purchases, provided the appropriate regulatory treatment under the law.
Will a new replacement plant be built at the site?
There are no plans to build a replacement at this time.
What will happen to the ash ponds at the site?
Closure plans for Beckjord’s ash basins would be completed with the appropriate state oversight and approval and would follow all local, state and federal regulations.
The future plans for the station itself will play a role in how and when the basins are closed.
The ponds currently receive water from plant sumps and the adjacent ash landfill and may need to continue to do so even after the basins no longer receive fly ash or bottom ash.
Why is it not economically feasible to install environmental controls like scrubbers, etc. at the plant?
Beckjord is nearly 60 years old and the cost of installing emissions equipment would be far greater than the cost to do so on a newer plant. Furthermore, the coal-fired units at Beckjord are generally smaller and the site itself is constrained in terms of space, making the units more expensive to retrofit with controls. The anticipated revenue from power sales would not justify the high costs associated with implementing upgraded controls at the facility – costs that it is expected would be largely borne by our customers.
Who would pay for plant closure costs?
For nearly six decades, the Beckjord Station has been serving our Ohio customers. Until its retirement, the station will continue to do so. To the extent the company seeks to recover the costs associated with closing the station, it will make a filing to the PUCO. The PUCO would then determine how plant closure costs are treated.
Who would pay for the closure of ash ponds at the site?
These ash ponds are a byproduct of the station’s long-term operation and dedication to Ohio customers. As the rules related to ash ponds are finalized, we will have a better understanding of the remediation that may be required to comply with these rules. To the extent the company will seek recovery of the costs incurred to comply with these rules, it will make the appropriate filing at the PUCO. The PUCO would determine who would pay for these costs.
What happens if the EPA’s MACT rule is not finalized later this year?
The EPA has stated they intend to complete the MACT rule by the end of this year. If finalization of the rule is delayed until 2012, the implementation date of the rule would likely also be delayed.
Will my electric rates change/increase if Beckjord is retired?
Duke Energy Ohio recently filed an application with the PUCO for approval of a new Electric Security Plan. In this filing, the company proposed to provide its customers with generation service (energy and capacity) at stable rates, over a nine-year, five-month period. Although the retirement of the Beckjord coal-fired units will have an effect on rates for generation service, we currently do not believe that the change will be significant.