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To shift towards cleaner energy generation, Duke Energy has secured approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to replace its 376MW Asheville coal-fired power plant with a new $1bn natural gas facility.
Under the project, two combined cycle natural gas-fuelled electric generating units will be constructed, with a capacity of 280MW each. The new units will replace the existing coal-fired power plant, planned to be decommissioned by 2020. Construction of the natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant is planned to start this year and be completed by late-2019.
Approximately $750m has been planned for construction of a 650MW natural gas-fired power plant, and a solar facility at the site. More than $320m will be spent on constructing a transmission substation, a 40-mile transmission line and modernising electrical infrastructure, to eventually reduce environmental impacts and long-term costs to customers.
Duke Energy plans to file future Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity applications for 15MW of solar projects, 5MW utility-scale storage over the next seven years after the Asheville coal units closure. Duke Energy North Carolina president David Fountain said the project would allow the company to "continue to provide cost-effective, reliable power for all customers in North Carolina and South Carolina."