Progress to shutter two coal-fired plants in October

Posted July 27, 2012 3:41 p.m. EDT

— Progress Energy said Friday that it plans to shut down coal-fired power plants in Chatham County and South Carolina in October.

The 316-megawatt Cape Fear plant near Moncure was to be closed next June, officials said. The 177-megawatt H.B. Robinson Unit 1 plant near Hartsville, S.C., is the utility's only coal-fired plant in South Carolina.

“These plants, and especially the men and women who have operated and maintained them, have played a vital role in meeting customer energy needs reliably and affordably for decades,” Jeff Lyash, executive vice president of energy supply for Progress' parent company, Duke Energy, said in a statement. “As we continue modernizing our generation system, we salute those who have been instrumental in fueling our region’s economic growth so dependably.”

Progress officials said they expect to begin commercial operations next spring at the new natural-gas fired H.F. Lee Plant near Goldsboro, which will pick up the energy production slack from the two older plants.

The company retired a coal-fired plant near Lumberton last fall and plans to retire one near Goldsboro in September and one near Wilmington late next year as it tries to modernize its operations.