News Release
Feb. 11, 2003

DUKE POWER'S COAL STATIONS AMONG NATION'S MOST EFFICIENT, RELIABLE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Power coal generators proved to be both reliable and efficient in 2002.

 

Catawba County's Marshall Steam Station in Terrell and Stokes County's Belews Creek Steam Station in Belews Creek were the country’s second and third most energy efficient coal-fired generators in the most recent Electric Light and Power magazine rankings.

 

Efficiency at a coal station is measured by how well it converts the heat energy from burning coal into electricity. The less heat used to produce each kilowatt-hour, the higher the efficiency rating. Heat is measured in British thermal unit (Btu), the electricity in kilowatt-hours. Btu per kilowatt-hour is called the heat rate.

 

“Higher efficiency means less coal is burned to produce the same amount of energy,” said Berry Bright, Duke Power’s vice president of coal operations. "Just a 1 percent improvement in efficiency equates to 2,000 fewer tons of coal burned annually.

 

“That not only lowers emissions, it helps to control costs so the company can maintain its very competitive electric rates,” he said. The cost of coal is responsible for 80 percent of operating costs at a coal plant. “Duke Power’s residential rates are virtually the same today as they were in 1986.”

 

The company’s eight coal generators have been national leaders in energy efficiency for the past 25 years. Coal stations provide roughly half of the electricity used by Duke Power's two million customers. In 2002, Belews Creek set an all-time plant record for electricity produced in a single year.

 

When an aggressive emissions control program is completed next year, nitrogen oxide emissions from the company’s coal generating fleet will be 75 percent lower than 1998 levels.

 

In June 2002, North Carolina’s General Assembly passed landmark clean air legislation that will reduce emissions from coal plants far below federal standards. This legislation calls for some of the lowest emission standards in the nation and was passed with Duke Power’s support. It will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2013 and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions an additional 33 percent by 2007.

 

This work will be completed by 2013 and will cost about $1.5 billion. Duke Power has committed to make these investments and freeze North Carolina rates until 2007.

 

“We have several goals at Duke Power – to make sure we meet our customers’ energy needs safely, reliably and efficiently,” Bright said. “We believe we are among the best at doing this, and the latest national rankings support our belief.”

 

Marshall began operating in 1965. Its four units are capable of producing 2,090 megawatts of electricity. Belews Creek came on line in 1974; its two units providing up to 2,240 megawatts of power. A megawatt serves roughly 1,000 homes.

 

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 approximately 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 generating capability is approximately 17,800 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.

 

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

 

Contact: Sandra Magee
Phone: 704/382-6112
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: sjmagee@duke-energy.com