By Charlotte Business Journal

N.C. environmental regulators have renewed the air-quality permit for Duke Energy Carolinasâ¿¿ Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County.

The permit includes the controversial 825-megawatt coal-fired unit under construction at the site. But state officials stress that the new unit â¿¿ the plantâ¿¿s sixth â¿¿ will face additional state and federal permitting reviews after itâ¿¿s completed in 2012.

⿿Duke Energy Carolinas is required by state and federal air regulations to submit an application for an operating permit for the sixth unit within 12 months of beginning operation,⿝ the state Division of Air Quality says in a press release about the permit renewal. ⿿That permitting process will include an opportunity for public comments and EPA review of the operating conditions for the unit.⿝

The permit renewal covers the entire Cliffside complex, parts of which have operated since the 1940s. Units 1 through 4 will be shut down after Duke starts operating Unit 6.

Construction of the new facility is expected to cost about $1.8 billion, with financing expenses adding about $550 million to the price.

To renew the air-quality permit, state regulators had to find that Duke can comply with state and federal rules for controlling particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, visible emissions, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants.

Duke Energy Carolinas is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK).

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010