Local News

State OKs $900M power plant near Goldsboro

Posted October 1, 2009 4:32 p.m. EDT

Progress Energy plans to shutter the H.F. Lee Plant near Goldsboro and replace it with a 950-megawatt gas-fired power plant.

— The state Utilities Commission on Thursday approved Progress Energy's plans to shut down three coal-fired power plants near Goldsboro and build a state-of-the-art natural gas-fueled plant at the site.

The $900 million plant will create up to 500 construction jobs, company officials said. It will open in 2013 and generate 950 megawatts of electricity, more than doubling the output of the existing H.F. Lee Plant, officials said.

Progress Energy officials said the gas-fired plant also will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 95 percent and would eliminate mercury and sulfur-dioxide emissions.

The three coal-fired units in the Lee Plant, located on the Neuse River west of Goldsboro, were built in 1951, 1952 and 1962.

In 2000, the company built four combustion-turbine units next to the Lee Plant, called the Wayne County Energy Complex, and a fifth combustion turbine was added this year. Those units are used primarily as peaking plants to meet increased demand for electricity on the hottest and coldest days of the year.

The additional generating capacity will be used to meet the demands of a growing customer service area, officials said.

The project also will involve the construction of a natural gas pipeline to fuel the new plan. Company officials said the pipeline would extend large-volume gas supply further into eastern North Carolina, which could be a catalyst for future economic development in the region.