Of the normal combined complement of 113 employees at these two power plants, 79 have been placed in other positions in the company, 27 are retiring through the company's voluntary severance program associated with Progress Energy's merger with Duke Energy, and seven left the company prior to the merger.
In addition to Cape Fear and Robinson Unit 1, Progress Energy Carolinas retired its coal-fired W.H. Weatherspoon power plant near Lumberton, N.C., in 2011, and the H.F. Lee power plant near Goldsboro, N.C., in September. Progress Energy Carolinas will close another coal-fired power plant, the L.V. Sutton Plant near Wilmington, N.C., in late 2013.
Once the retirements are complete, Progress Energy Carolinas will have retired all of its coal-fired power plants that do not have advanced environmental controls. This represents more than 1,600 MW, or approximately one-third of its coal-generating fleet.
In addition to retiring older, small coal plants, the utility's fleet-modernization strategy also includes building new natural gas-fueled combined-cycle units.A new, 920-MW natural gas-fueled combined-cycle power plant is under construction at the H.F. Lee power plant site near Goldsboro, N.C. That project, including a gas pipeline extension, is expected to begin commercial operation in January 2013. The company is also building a 625-MW gas-fired power plant at its Sutton site. Commercial operation, including a gas pipeline extension, is expected by the end of 2013. The utility also added 614 MW of natural gas-fueled generation at its Sherwood H. Smith Jr. Energy Complex near Hamlet, N.C., in 2011. "We're closing one chapter, but opening another as we continue to invest in our power system to meet the needs of our customers," Lyash said. "I'm proud of the teams working on these projects and I look forward to our continued commitment to the communities we serve."