An Anderson county station is one of seven coal-fired power plants that may close in five years, a major utility says. In its annual planning document, Duke Energy told the North Carolina Utilities Commission it might have to close seven coal-fired units within five years, due to tough new environmental regulations.
The utility said it would cost less to “retire” the plants than to install new sulphur oxide controls, called scrubbers. The news comes as federal regulators are expected to stiffen limits on the pollutants that can form smog and acid rain. New rules on coal ash and mercury emissions are also anticipated.
One of the affected plants is the Lee Steam Station in Anderson County. Duke said all seven plants would be shut within five years, but it’s thinking of converting Lee from coal into natural gas fuel. Natural gas is cleaner and the letter estimates its cost to go down as new deposits are discovered.
Four other plants were already scheduled to close, but Duke added Lee to the list Wednesday, along with two more stations in North Carolina.