Progress Energy Plans $700M to $750M Expansion in Richmond County

Project requires regulatory approval. It also includes new 64-power line from complex to Fort Bragg. Two public meetings are planned to discuss project.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN ) disclosed plans Monday to invest between $700 million and $750 million in order to expand its electric generation capacity at a complex in Richmond County.

The project, which Progress said is needed to meet growing demands for power, should be completed by mid-2011, the company said in a statement.

However, the project still requires regulatory approval.

The new power unit would be fueled primarily by natural gas and generate 570-megawatts of power.

Part of the plan also includes a new power transmission line. According to a map provided by Progress Energy, the proposed line would stretch from the power complex to Cumberland County and Fort Bragg.

The Richmond County power complex is located near the South Carolina border southeast of Rockingham and south of Hamlet It is already capable of providing some 1,230 megawatts of power.

The plant and line are needed in order to “move electricity to where it’s needed,” the company said.

No additional land would be required at the power complex, the company said.

The power line would stretch 64 miles from the complex to a substation at Fort Bragg. Several routes for the line have been proposed.

A letter has been sent to property owners who could be affected by the line. The company has also scheduled two public meetings to discuss the project. They will be on November 13 at Leath Memorial Library in Rockingham and November 15 at the Raeford City Hall in Raeford. Each will begin at 5 p.m.

Progress Energy has sent letters to residents whose property might be affected directly by any of the potential power line routes.

The line will include steel polls ranging from 80 feet to 110 feet in height and standing between 500 feet and 700 feet apart.

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