The Coal Trader

Duke Energy Adjusts Coal Plant Retirement Plans Due to Increased Load Forecast

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress have submitted revised coal plant retirement plans to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The adjustments are primarily driven by a significant increase in the projected demand for electricity and the need to maintain sufficient reserve margins.

Key changes:

  • Peak load growth: Compared to the 2023 Spring Load Forecast, the updated 2023 Fall Load Forecast shows a substantial increase of approximately 2,100 MW.
  • Accelerated retirement: Roxboro 4 (711 MW) will now be retired in 2029, one year earlier than previously planned.
  • Delayed retirements:
    • Roxboro 2 (673 MW) retirement moved from 2029 to 2034.
    • Allen 1 (167 MW) retirement pushed back from March 31st, 2024, to December 31st, 2024.
    • Allen 5 (259 MW) retirement postponed from March 31st, 2024, to September 30th, 2024.
  • Swapped retirements: Roxboro 2 and 4 retirement dates are effectively switched to utilize Roxboro 1 and 4’s transmission capacity for replacing generation at the Person County Energy Complex.

Impact on coal usage:

  • While some coal units will operate longer than initially projected, Duke assures minimal impact on the overall energy mix.
  • Coal will be used primarily for short-term reliability purposes as renewable and lower-emission resources come online.
  • Duke remains committed to the North Carolina Commission’s Carbon Plan Order to retire 8,400 MW of coal capacity by 2035.

Implications for coal suppliers:

  • The Roxboro change does not affect Napp/Capp coal supply contracts.
  • The slight delay for Allen 1 and 5 might benefit suppliers Coal-Mac, Appalachian Resource Company, and Blackhawk Mining, but the limited operation of these units minimizes the potential impact.

Overall, these adjustments highlight the dynamic nature of energy demand and the need for flexible planning in transitioning to a lower-carbon future.

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