Progress Energy last week shuttered its 382-MW coal-fired H.F. Lee power plant near Goldsboro, N.C. The 1951-built station is the second to be retired under the Duke Energy subsidiary’s fleet modernization program.

It was one of the first major construction projects in the utility’s post–World War II expansion; a second coal-fired unit was added the following year, and a third unit was added in the 1960s. Progress plans to close the site’s four oil-fueled combustion turbine units, with a total capacity of 75 MW, on Oct. 1, 2012.
The company expects to build a new 920-MW natural gas–fired combined cycle unit on a property between the Lee Plant and the Wayne County Energy Complex. Commercial operation of that plant and a corresponding natural gas pipeline extension is expected to begin commercial operation in early 2013. Along with the five dual-fueled combustion turbines at the existing Wayne County Energy Complex, the new plant will be called the “H.F. Lee Energy Complex.” Total generation capacity of the site could approach 1,800 MW, the company said.

The company’s announced coal-fired retirements represent more than 1,600 MW—or about a third of its coal generating fleet. Progress retired its coal-fired W.H. Weatherspoon power plant near Lumberton, N.C., last October, the first retirement under the utility’s fleet modernization plan. Other plants slated for retirement include the Cape Fear Plant near Moncure, N.C. (Oct. 1, 2012), the Robinson coal-fired unit near Hartsville, S.C. (Oct. 1, 2012), and the L.V. Sutton Plant near Wilmington, N.C. (late 2013). Once the retirements are complete, the utility will have retired all of its coal-fired units that do not have advanced environmental controls, it said.

Along with the H.F. Lee Energy Complex, Progress said it would build a 625-MW facility at its Sutton site. Commercial operation, including a corresponding natural gas pipeline extension, is expected at the end of 2013. The utility also added 584 MW of natural gas–fueled generation at its Sherwood H. Smith Jr. Energy Complex near Hamlet, N.C., in June 2011.

Source: Progress Energy