Duke Energy Carolinas' Generation Strategy Moves Forward With Plans to Modernize Cliffside Plant - Duke Energy

News Release
June 2, 2006

Duke Energy Carolinas' Generation Strategy Moves Forward With Plans to Modernize Cliffside Plant

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Carolinas today filed an application and supporting testimony with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” (CPCN) to modernize Cliffside Steam Station, located in Rutherford and Cleveland counties, N.C. 

The application is the next step in the company’s long-term generation strategy and seeks commission approval to construct two state-of-the-art, highly efficient 800-megawatt, base load coal units. The project also includes the retirement of four existing units at the site.

“The actions we are taking today ensure we will continue to have an economical, reliable and diverse power plant fleet that will help our economy grow,” said Duke Energy Carolinas President Ellen Ruff. “Adding new units at Cliffside with advanced emissions controls, while retiring older units at the same time, significantly improves the efficiency of our power plant fleet.

“It is fundamental to our new generation strategy, which also includes moving ahead with an option to build a 2,234-megawatt nuclear plant in Cherokee County, S.C., and pursuing additional conservation programs and renewable technologies,” added Ruff.

“Our generation strategy builds on our current ‘Clean Smokestacks’ projects in North Carolina and significant emission reductions efforts planned largely as a result of more stringent federal requirements,” Ruff said. “The net result will be to reduce environmental impacts, including lowering the carbon dioxide emission intensity of our operations.”

Duke Energy Carolinas adds between 40,000 and 60,000 new customers annually. The company has been able to meet customer growth over the last 20 years through efficient power plant operations, building or purchasing peaking power plants and purchasing economical power on the wholesale market. The company’s last base load plant, designed to provide economical power 24 hours a day, was completed in 1986.

Duke Energy Carolinas’ generation fleet produces 52 percent of its power with coal plants; 46 percent with nuclear plants, which produce no greenhouse gas emissions; and two percent with hydroelectric and gas/oil fueled plants. This generation mix is the key reason why the company’s fuel costs are among the lowest in the Southeast. 

The fundamental objective of Duke Energy Carolinas’ long-term generation strategy is to maintain economical fuel costs and continue to increase the efficiency of the power plant fleet to meet growing power demand, while also reducing impacts to the air and water.     

The Cliffside modernization project includes:

  • Two state-of-the-art, 800-megawatt, highly efficient coal-fired units, with the initial unit projected to come on line as early as 2011
  • The retirement of Cliffside units 1-4 with a capacity of 160 megawatts and the removal of the site’s heated water discharge in the Broad River 
  • Extensive emissions controls to ensure the plant will be among the cleanest coal plants in the nation
  • Cost savings by leveraging existing Cliffside facilities, such as water intakes and transmission equipment, and sharing new unit sulfur dioxide scrubber equipment with the unit 5 scrubber scheduled to come on line by 2010
  • Substantial economic benefits for Cleveland and Rutherford counties with a potential investment of approximately $2 billion (for both 800-megawatt units).

“We have been discussing our Cliffside project with local business and government leaders in Cleveland and Rutherford counties over the last year and received tremendous support for our plans,” Ruff added.

Duke Energy Carolinas filed preliminary CPCN information for the Cliffside project with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in May 2005 and filed an air permit application with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources last December. 

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. Duke Energy’s Carolinas operations deliver safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 2.2 million electric customers in a 22,000 square mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina. A diverse fuel mix of nuclear, coal-fired, hydroelectric and combustion-turbine generation provides approximately 28,000 megawatts of regulated generating capacity. 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 Williams
Phone: 980/373-4743
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: tcwillia@duke-energy.com