DUKE POWER BREAKS GROUND ON $500 MILLION BELEWS CREEK STEAM STATION EMISSIONS ''SCRUBBER'' - Duke Energy

News Release
May 20, 2005

DUKE POWER BREAKS GROUND ON $500 MILLION BELEWS CREEK STEAM STATION EMISSIONS ''SCRUBBER''

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – William G. Ross, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, joined leaders from Duke Power and Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford and Rockingham counties today to break ground on a project that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by approximately 95 percent at Belews Creek Steam Station.

The project is expected to cost approximately $500 million and is the second of a series of four sulfur dioxide “scrubbers” Duke Power is installing on its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. The projects stem from the passage of the state’s 2002 “Clean Smokestacks” legislation and will deploy more capital into North Carolina’s economy over the next several years than perhaps any other project.

“North Carolina has among the most progressive clean air policies in the nation, helped by the hard work and ingenuity of companies like Duke Power,” Ross said. “Our landmark 2002 Clean Smokestacks Act gives this and future generations of North Carolinians the chance to enjoy cleaner air and a better overall quality of life. These projects also create scores of jobs and will be a significant boost to the Triad and statewide economy.”

Duke Power’s nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced more than 33 percent by 2007 and sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced more than 70 percent by 2013 – far below federal standards. These reductions are in addition to the company’s work to comply with the federal Clean Air Act that has dramatically reduced nitrogen oxide emissions.

“We have made substantial progress with our first scrubber project at Marshall Steam Station that began in February 2004 and we are eager to move forward with our Belews Creek project,” said Bill Hall, Duke Power’s group vice president for fossil/hydro generation. “Belews Creek has ranked as one of the nation’s most efficient power plants and is one of the primary reasons our rates are among the lowest in the Southeast and 21 percent below the national average. This investment in Belews Creek will ensure it continues to serve our customers with competitively priced electricity well into the 21st century.”

The scrubber removes sulfur dioxide by injecting a mixture of limestone and water into the emissions stream. The Belews Creek project will be completed in 2008 and the Marshall Steam Station scrubber will be completed in 2007. 

Belews Creek Steam Station has a generating capacity of 2,240 megawatts and is located in Stokes County, N.C. The plant began operation in 1974 and can serve more than 2 million homes. Duke Power completed a $450 million selective catalytic reduction or “SCR” project in 2004 that reduced the plant’s nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 80 percent.   

Duke Power’s Allen and Cliffside steam stations scrubber projects will follow the Belews Creek project. The company’s smaller coal-fueled power plants in North Carolina, located in Eden, Salisbury and north of Charlotte, are having advanced technology installed to further reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. 

On May 11, 2005, Duke Power filed preliminary information with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to invest up to $2 billion to modernize and expand its Cliffside Steam Station with new state-of-the-art coal units. The company will ensure compliance with the stringent Clean Smokestacks caps on nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by retiring older less-efficient power plant units or adding emissions control equipment.    

Duke Power’s coal-fired power plants have been ranked among the nations most efficient for more than 30 years, which reduces fuel costs and keeps emissions as low as possible. 

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

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