Duke retiring coal early

Fleet modernization claims credit
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Duke Energy will retire two of its coal-fired power plants two years earlier than originally scheduled.

Duke Energy's Buck Combined Cycle Station

The Buck and Riverbend steam stations, which have operated for more than 80 years, had been scheduled to retired in April 2015 in the face of upcoming federal environmental regulations, but Duke has chosen to retire them on April 1, 2013. Buck Units 5 and 6 and Riverbend Units 4 through 7 will be retired.

The retirements are part of Duke's strategy to modernize its power plants. By the end of 2013, Duke Energy will have retired more than 3,800 MW of older coal capacity.

"The investments we and our customers have made in the last 10 years allow us to retire older stations like these and continue transitioning to cleaner sources of electricity," said Keith Trent, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Duke Regulated Utilities. "These stations played pivotal roles in the 1920s and 1930s in helping to electrify the industries and homes of the Carolinas."

Buck Steam Station started operations in 1926 and was Duke's first large-scale power plant. Riverbend Steam Station began operating in 1929.

As infrequently as these units had been operating recently, the coming years would have meant even less operating time due to more efficient plants coming online and low natural gas prices.

The success of a joint dispatch process that utilizes generation across both Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Carolinas fleets to more efficiently meet customer needs also contributed to these early retirements.

The improvements in deploying the utility's generation fleet have resulted in efficiency, savings and progress toward meeting the company's $687 million merger-related commitment.

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