Duke Energy Progress has committed $1.4 billion in the Asheville region to provide energy the way customers want it – cleaner, smarter and more renewable.
Though new natural gas and renewable energy assets are geographically located in this region, energy is fed to the grid, benefiting customers in both North Carolina and South Carolina.
Cleaner. Duke Energy invested $817 million to build the new Asheville Combined Cycle Station. The company also shut down two coal-fired units at the site in January 2020 and continues to close coal ash basins.
Smarter. More than $175 million is allocated to upgrade power lines, substations and other systems that move energy from power plants to customers. Investments in technology will also improve security and enable the system to automatically send an alert or fix itself. Hardening the system will make it more resilient, and moving some power lines underground will reduce outages.
More renewable. Duke Energy is investing $120 million in renewables in the region, including building a 9- to 10-megawatt solar plant and 17- to 18-megawatt battery storage facility at the existing Asheville station; connecting a 9-megawatt lithium-ion battery system to Duke Energy's Rock Hill substation in the city of Asheville; and building a microgrid in Hot Springs, including a 2-megawatt solar plant and 4-megawatt lithium battery storage facility.
Investments in cleaner natural gas power plants and renewables will allow Duke Energy to retire coal plants faster and help the company achieve its goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by half by 2030.
Duke Energy's new Asheville Combined Cycle Station in Arden, N.C., is operational and capable of producing 560 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient energy to serve customers in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The new station generates enough energy to serve about 450,000 homes.
The company also shut down two 1960s-era coal-fired units at the Asheville site in January 2020, and demolition is expected to be finished in 2023.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the new natural gas plant in February 2016 as part of the Western Carolinas Modernization Plan, and construction started in November 2017.