The North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved Progress Energy Carolinas' plan to build new natural gas-fueled power generation in Wayne County, to replace a coal-fired plant that the utility will retire in 2013.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Progress Energy’s proposed 950-megawatt combined-cycle power plant is located near the site of the H.F. Lee coal-fired plant, which has a generating capacity of about 400 MW. The commission’s approval was the result of a streamlined review process authorized by legislation approved by the N.C. General Assembly in July.

The natural gas-fueled plant represents a projected investment of about $900 million. Progress Energy estimates a 24-month building timetable. Construction will include the construction of a natural gas pipeline to the Wayne County site.

The schedule calls for construction to begin in 2011.