Local News

Wayne County getting economic, environmental boost

Posted September 9, 2010 7:43 p.m. EDT

— Wayne County got a big economic and environmental boost Thursday with a project that promises hundreds of new jobs.

At a time when cleaner energy and jobs are on many minds, Progress Energy is taking on a new project that tackles both. The company is expanding a plant just outside of Goldsboro. It’s replacing its current coal-fired units with a new natural gas-fired plant.

The new site includes a natural gas pipeline that will enhance supply to the region. Spokesman Mike Hughes says the new combined-cycle power plant will produce more energy in a cleaner way.

“We're very happy to have made this investment in the community,” he said. “Carbon emissions will be reduced by nearly half. Mercury emissions from this plant versus a coal-fired plant are virtually eliminated.”

Even before completion, the project will pipe in new jobs. It is expected to create about 500 construction jobs over the next two years.

State Sens. David Rouzer, R-Wayne and Johnston, and Don Davis, D-Wayne, Greene and Pitt, say that is crucial in the county they represent.

“It's a tremendous investment in terms of jobs, in terms of energy, in terms of environmental impact,” Rouzer said.

“Right now, we're fighting one job at a time and for 500 jobs to come around I think that is tremendous,” Davis said.

Progress Energy says it's a win-win for the company and community with a long standing relationship.

“This was a way for us to extend that well out into the future while being environmentally responsible,” Hughes said.

Construction is expected to begin early next year. The new plant is scheduled to be online in 2013.