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Power Plant Options

With about 60,000 new Duke Energy customers each year, it will take time for the benefits of energy efficiency to significantly curb demand. We use four criteria to evaluate energy supply options: Is the supply affordable? Is it available? Is it reliable? Is it clean? This table summarizes the current state of power plant technology and economics for our service areas.



  Purpose Affordable Available Reliable Clean
Cleaner Coal

Supercritical Pulverized

Baseload Yes Yes Yes Yes, except for CO2 emissions

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)

Baseload Yes Yes, but limited utility applications Yes Yes, except for CO2 emissions
Note: Future carbon capture and sequestration could address CO2; likely easier with IGCC.
Nuclear
  Baseload Yes Yes, but must restart nuclear industry Yes Yes, except for waste issues
Natural Gas

Simple Cycle

Peaking Yes, but volatile fuel prices Yes Yes Yes, lower CO2 emissions than coal

Combined Cycle

Intermediate Yes, but volatile fuel prices Yes Yes Yes, lower CO2 emissions than coal
Renewables

Solar

Intermittent No, very expensive now Yes, on small scale Yes, if resource available Yes

Wind

Intermittent Among least cost renewables Yes, but geographically limited Yes, if resource available Yes

Hydro

Peaking Yes Yes, but most sites have been developed Yes, if resource available Yes, except for stream flow impacts

Biomass

Baseload Among least cost renewables Yes, on small scale Yes, if fuel available Yes, but not as clean as other renewables
Energy Efficiency

Demand Response

Peaking Yes, less than generation alternatives Yes, but customer response uncertain Yes, once installed Yes

Conservation

Baseload Yes, less than generation alternatives Yes, but customer response uncertain Yes, once installed Yes

Baseload Large power plants that operate continuously at near full load (except for maintenance) to meet the 24/7 electric demand.
Peaking Power plants that operate for short periods, often for just a few hours on especially hot or cold days, to meet spikes in demand.
Intermediate Power plants that operate between the extremes of baseload and peaking electric demands.
Intermittent Power plants that are expected to operate 15 to 30 percent of the time.