Duke’s H.F. Lee Plant: Another One Bites the Dust

Demolition specialists imploded the H.F. Lee Steam Plant stacks on Dec. 20, changing the landscape of Wayne County, N.C., forever.

The 382-MW facility began commercial operation in 1951 and was retired on Sept. 15, 2012. The plant, originally known as the Goldsboro Plant, was renamed in 1964 after Harry Fitzhugh Lee, a district manager who retired from Carolina Power & Light after a 45-year career.

In 2009, Progress Energy announced plans to construct a gas-fired combined cycle plant to take the place of the coal-fired units at H.F. Lee. The replacement was part of a company strategy to make the transition to cleaner generation sources. Progress Energy merged with Duke Energy in July 2012, and the new 920-MW plant began operation that December.

The stack demolition was the first of two implosion events that will occur at the site. The second will demolish the boilers and is scheduled to take place in the spring.

By the end of 2013, Duke Energy will have retired units at nine coal-fired generation sites in the Carolinas. Its long-term vision is to return the sites to ground level. The process involves dismantling equipment and buildings, followed by filling, grading, and seeding the land. Based on current estimates, the company expects to complete the restoration of H.F. Lee by late-2014.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)

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