News Release
Dec. 02, 1999


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Power’s Riverbend Steam Station on Mountain Island Lake in Gaston County recently celebrated a major milestone — the plant turned 70.

"Today’s Riverbend team is carrying on a proud tradition," said Ronnie Campbell, station manager. "In many cases these employees are following family members who were part of the original team that started the plant 70 years ago."

The year was 1929. The first two 55,000 kilowatt Riverbend units were started just one day before the infamous stock market crash that marked the beginning of the Great Depression. Prior to that time there had been a tremendous increase in the demand for electricity. Between 1926 and 1927 alone, electricity consumption increased by 20 percent.

Rapidly increasing demand for electricity coupled with a severe drought in 1925, convinced Duke Power leaders that an alternative to hydroelectric power was needed. The alternative was generating electricity with steam at large-capacity plants fueled by coal. Riverbend’s initial units were the first two coal-fired units on the Catawba River.

After the stock market crash, the demand for electricity slowed significantly as industries and the entire Piedmont Carolinas suffered from the depression. It would be almost another decade before a third unit was added at Riverbend. Units 4 and 5 followed in 1952. Units 6 and 7 came just two years later.

"The station is still an important part of Duke Power’s generating system," Campbell said. "In 1983, we won Duke Power’s first annual Charles A. Dewey Award for top performance, and we remain a well-run plant. The three units that continue operating today produced 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1998. That makes a significant contribution to meeting the electricity needs of Duke Power’s two million customers."

Mountain Island Lake, home to the Riverbend Station, was created in 1923 with the construction of a dam across the Catawba River to provide water for the Mountain Island Hydroelectric Station. With a surface area of more than 3,235 acres and 60 miles of shoreline, Mountain Island Lake also provides recreational activities for the public.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to nearly two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system capability is 19,252 megawatts.

Duke Energy (NYSE-DUK) is a global energy company with more than $29 billion in assets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the company reaches into more than 50 countries, producing energy, transporting energy, marketing energy and providing energy services. In the United States, Duke Energy companies provide electric service in North Carolina and South Carolina; operate interstate pipelines that deliver natural gas to various regions of the country; and are leading marketers of electricity, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Contact: Guynn Savage
Phone: (704) 382-8350
24 Hour Phone: (704) 382-8333