DUKE POWER LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR UPGRADED POWER PORTFOLIO TO MEET GROWING CUSTOMER DEMAND - Duke Energy

News Release
May 11, 2005

DUKE POWER LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR UPGRADED POWER PORTFOLIO TO MEET GROWING CUSTOMER DEMAND

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Power has filed preliminary information with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to modernize and expand its Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford and Cleveland counties and Buck Steam Station in Rowan County. 

The filings in support of an application for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” (CPCN) with the commission are part of Duke Power’s overall strategy to plan for the future. The company is also considering whether to pursue the option to build a new nuclear power plant and is seeking bids from the wholesale power market for up to 1,500 megawatts beginning in 2009.  

“Our customers’ demand for energy is growing,” said Ellen Ruff, group vice president of planning and external relations for Duke Power. “The preliminary plans for Cliffside and Buck, along with efforts to secure the option to license a new nuclear plant, build on Duke Power’s tradition of operating a highly efficient and diverse fleet of power plants.” 

“In addition to evaluating new nuclear, purchased power and efficient, state-of-the-art coal and natural gas and oil plants, we will be evaluating additional conservation measures and renewable energy options as we prepare for the future,” Ruff added. “Ensuring the environment is protected is at the forefront of our minds.” 

Duke Power will ensure continued compliance with North Carolina’s stringent “clean smokestacks” legislation by retiring older and less efficient power plant units or installing additional emission control equipment. Cliffside’s new coal units would be very efficient and feature extensive emissions controls, resulting in reduced emissions per megawatt of power produced from Duke Power’s portfolio of power plants. 

The filings are part of Duke Power’s long-term generation planning process and are independent and unaffected by Duke Energy’s recently announced plans to merge with Cinergy.

Planning for new power plants must begin well in advance of increased power demand. It takes approximately four years to permit and construct an intermediate load natural gas and oil-fueled, combined-cycle plant. Base load coal and nuclear plants take about six and nine years to permit and construct respectively.

Cliffside and Buck steam stations are excellent sites for new power units because much of the critical infrastructure is already in place, which keeps construction and operating costs low and minimizes environmental impacts. 

Duke Power is also considering alternate sites in South Carolina for new power units, and will be filing a CPCN application with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina in the coming months.  

A potential Cliffside Steam Station modernization and expansion includes:

  • An 800-megawatt, highly efficient, coal-fueled unit planned for as early as 2010.
  • Substantial economic benefits for Cleveland and Rutherford counties with a potential investment of approximately $2 billion (for 1,600 megawatts). 
  • A second 800-megawatt unit possible based on customer growth and the schedule for constructing a new nuclear plant.

A potential Buck Steam Station modernization and expansion includes:

  • A 600-megawatt natural gas and oil-fueled, combined-cycle unit.
  • Economic benefits for Rowan County and the region with a potential investment of approximately $350 million.   
  • The outcome of the “Request for Proposals” to wholesale power suppliers will be important in determining if the company builds a combined-cycle plant at Buck Steam Station or at a site in South Carolina.  

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: http://www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in the Americas. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy 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: http://www.duke-energy.com.

This document contains forward-looking information which is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be different than those contemplated, including, but not limited to, changes in state, federal or international regulatory environments; commercial, industrial and residential growth in the company’s service territory; the weather and other natural phenomena; the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices, interest rates, and foreign currency exchange rates; general economic conditions; changes in environmental and other laws and regulations to which Duke Energy and its subsidiaries are subject or other external factors over which Duke Energy has no control; the results of financing efforts; the effect of accounting pronouncements; growth in opportunities for Duke Energy’s business units, and other risks described in the company’s 2004 Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Contact: Tom Williams
Phone: 980/373-4743
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: tcwillia@duke-energy.com