Duke Energy Leads $2B Power Investment in Carolinas
Duke Energy Progress is building an $898-million combined-cycle natural-gas plant in Asheville, N.C. The 560-MW plant will replace a 376-MW coal-fired facility. EPC contractor McDermott began construction on the plant in November 2017. As of October, the plant was about 50% complete. The new plant is expected to come online in 2019 and the coal units will be retired by 2020. Duke has announced about $2 billion in capital investments in the region, including $546 million on grid modernization and $168 million for transmission and distribution upgrades. The company also announced in October plans for 300 MW of battery storage, and it has plans to build more solar generation. Although there are thousands of wind and solar plants being built throughout the U.S., natural-gas power plants still make up the bulk of the electricity provided by new construction, according to the Energy Information Administration. Natural-gas combined-cycle plants accounted for 7,500 MW of power that came online in 2017, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As of August, 11,581 MW of the 16,768 MW of power that have come online this year are natural-gas units, according to FERC.