Duke Energy Announces Plans to Purchase Southern Company Interest in Proposed South Carolina Nuclear Plant May 7, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
Duke Energy announced today that, subject to board approval, it intends to purchase Southern Company’s 500-megawatt interest in the proposed William States Lee III nuclear power project, making the plant’s total output available to electric customers in the Carolinas.
Demand in Duke Energy Carolinas’ service area is projected to grow by more than 6,000 megawatts by 2021. The two-unit Lee Nuclear plant proposed for Cherokee County, S.C., could come into service by 2016 with a capacity of more than 2,200 megawatts. Under a joint ownership agreement signed with Southern Company last March, the Atlanta-based company would have been entitled to 500 megawatts of the plant’s output.
Southern Company said it is withdrawing from the Lee Nuclear project to explore and focus on energy options within its service territory, including the two proposed new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga. Duke Energy management will recommend to the company’s board of directors at its May 10 meeting that Duke proceed with the plant without Southern Company’s participation.
“Lee Nuclear is an important part of our strategy for meeting growing demand,” said Ellen Ruff, president, Duke Energy Carolinas. “Having its entire output available will be a benefit for electric customers in the Carolinas.”
Duke Energy plans to file with the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission later this year for a combined construction and operating license (COL) for the two Lee Nuclear units, following which the company will file with the South Carolina Public Service Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the plant.
Jim Rogers, Duke Energy chairman, president and chief executive officer, said as well as being crucial for meeting growing demand, adding a new nuclear plant in the Carolinas will be important to the company’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we’re ever going to slow and eventually reverse global warming, the world has got to move to energy sources that don’t emit carbon and other greenhouse gases,” Rogers said. “Nuclear energy is the best commercially available technology today to produce large amounts of electricity with no greenhouse gases.”
He added, “As one of the nation’s preeminent nuclear operators, Duke Energy is in a position to play a leadership role in building and operating a new generation of nuclear plants.”
In 2005, Duke Energy announced its plans to pursue new nuclear generation in the Carolinas and began preparing a COL application for two Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) reactors. The 2,000-acre Cherokee County site was announced for the project in 2006, following a comprehensive siting study across the Carolinas, which also revealed positive community support for new nuclear generation.
Duke Energy Corp., one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers energy to approximately 3.9 million U.S. customers. The company has nearly 37,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint-venture partner in a U.S. real estate company.
Duke Energy's Carolinas operations include nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides nearly 21,000 megawatts of 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.
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: www.duke-energy.com.
|Contact:||Rita B. Sipe|