The Raleigh-based utility wants to retire its coal-fired Sutton Plant by 2014 and replace it with a 620-megawatt plant fueled by cleaner-burning natural gas.
“The Sutton Plant has been an important part of our system for more than half a century, and updating the technology we use here will ensure that it remains important,” Lloyd Yates, president and chief executive of Progress Energy Carolinas, said in a statement. “The switch will provide significantly cleaner air and continued reliable service for our customers, while at the same time serving as a catalyst for economic growth and expansion by increasing natural gas supplies in southeastern North Carolina."
As part of the switch, Progress Energy negotiated to extend a major natural gas pipeline to the plant site.
The company plans to file for a state air permit for the new plant in the coming months, and construction is expected to begin in 2011.
Progress Energy said last fall that it would close 11 coal-burning power plants in North Carolina by 2017 because they don't have equipment to contain air pollution.