W.S. Lee Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Project

 
The W.S. Lee combined-cycle natural gas plant project is continuing to progress. Construction started in 2015, and we anticipate bringing the 750-megawatt unit online in late 2017.

In 2014, the Public Service Commission of South Carolina approved plans for Duke Energy Carolinas to build and operate the new plant at the existing W.S. Lee Steam Station located in Anderson County, S.C., on the Saluda River.

The North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation will co-own 100 megawatts of the project.

Construction

This project represents a substantial long-term investment by Duke Energy Carolinas to add new generation, modernize the fleet, maintain a diverse fuel portfolio and manage customer costs while delivering a high-quality, reliable power supply.

The project also demonstrates Duke Energy Carolinas' ongoing commitment to the W.S. Lee Steam Station site and surrounding community. Construction and related activities have added several million dollars to the local tax base and economy, including about $12 million to local subcontractors. During the height of construction, the project created about 600 temporary construction jobs. About 40 full-time workers will be needed to operate and maintain the plant when it starts serving customers in late 2017.

New power plant = jobs for South Carolina county: More details about how the project has benefited the local community.

Environmental stewardship

Combined-cycle natural gas plants are very efficient in the production of energy and have lower emissions than other generating sources. This facility will employ state-of-the-art environmental control technologies to minimize plant emissions.

The company also retired two older coal-fired units at the site in November 2014, and decommissioning is underway. A third coal-fired unit at the site was converted to natural gas. These projects combined significantly reduced emissions.

In addition, the new combined-cycle plant will not require more ground water resources than what is already permitted at the W.S. Lee Steam Station.

A good neighbor

Duke Energy Carolinas has operated the W.S. Lee Steam Station since 1951. Volunteerism and community spirit have long been part of the plant’s operations, and that legacy will continue for years to come with the construction and operation of the new combined-cycle plant.


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Frequently Asked Questions

  • The energy needs of our customers are significant during the next 15 years. Our commitment is to meet our customers’ needs by providing reliable and increasingly clean energy.

    Combined-cycle natural gas plants are a good match to serve our customers and meet demand. They are also an important part of Duke Energy Carolinas’ generation portfolio. Natural gas plants are very efficient in the production of energy and have lower emissions than other generating sources.
  • The W.S. Lee combined-cycle natural gas plant project is continuing to progress. Construction started in 2015, and we anticipate bringing the 750-megawatt unit online in late 2017.
  • This project represents a substantial long-term investment by Duke Energy Carolinas in the W.S. Lee Steam Station site and surrounding community. Construction and related activities have added several million dollars to the local tax base and economy, including about $12 million to local subcontractors. During the height of construction, the project created about 600 temporary construction jobs. About 40 full-time workers will be needed to operate and maintain the plant when it starts serving customers in late 2017.
  • A new dedicated gas pipeline (about 1 mile in length branching off of the Transco mainline) and associated metering and compression equipment will be installed on existing Duke Energy Carolinas and Piedmont Natural Gas rights of way to serve the W.S. Lee combined-cycle plant.
  • Combined-cycle natural gas plants are very efficient in the production of energy and have lower emissions than other generating sources. This facility will employ state-of-the-art environmental control technologies to minimize plant emissions. The company also retired two older coal-fired units in 2014, and the third coal-fired unit was converted to natural gas in April 2015. These projects combined significantly reduced emissions.

    The new combined-cycle plant also will not require more water resources than what is already permitted at the W.S. Lee Steam Station.
  • The three-unit plant retired on Nov. 6, 2014, and decommissioning is underway. Though retired from coal use, unit 3 was converted to natural gas in April 2015 and produces about 180 megawatts of energy. Duke Energy Carolinas no longer operates any coal plants in South Carolina.
  • No, construction of the W.S. Lee combined-cycle plant will not affect future plans to close on-site coal ash basins. The plant has two coal ash basins, an inactive basin from the 1950s, a structural fill and an ash fill area. These storage units historically held about 3.2 million tons of ash. The company has accelerated its ash basin closure work across the fleet. In September 2014, the company announced plans to excavate the inactive basin and fill area to a fully lined solution. Since May 2015, this ash has been safely transported to the R&B Landfill in Homer, Ga. This work is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2017. In December 2015, the company announced the primary basin, secondary basin and structural fill would also be excavated. The company is working on permitting an on-site, fully lined landfill to permanently manage this ash.