06/07/12 — Pipeline for plant completed

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Pipeline for plant completed

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 7, 2012 1:46 PM

An $85 million project to build a 38-mile stretch of 20-inch natural gas transmission pipeline and additional compression facilities that will service Progress Energy's new $900 million natural gas-fired power plant has been completed.

The new power plant being built just west of Goldsboro is scheduled for completion by the middle of next year, said Progress Energy's Scott Sutton.

"Having a gas line is a very important piece of our fleet modernization," he said. "Without the line, it would not have been possible to build this size plant. The two projects had to happen simultaneously.

"Increasing the fuel supply was not only vital to the operation of the new plant, but will help build the infrastructure of eastern North Carolina and help in future economic growth."

The new plant would not have been able to operate if only the previous amount of natural gas had been available, Sutton said.

"It is a vital piece of the puzzle," he said.

The new facility is being built adjacent to the H.F. Lee Plant, which employs about 85 people. Once completed, the area will be renamed the H.F. Lee Energy Complex.

It is expected that 47 employees will operate the new facility.

The pipeline project, first announced in October 2009, will be used at the new facility to replace three coal-fired units, helping to dramatically reduce overall emissions from the facility and lower operating costs, Piedmont Natural Gas officials said.

"We are pleased to initiate our natural gas delivery service to the Progress Energy Wayne County project as scheduled on June 1," said Thomas E. Skains, Piedmont Natural Gas chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This is a significant milestone for Piedmont as we execute our existing portfolio of power generation pipeline expansion projects."

The new, cleaner-burning plant addresses environmental concerns including a 60-percent improvement in terms of carbon emissions, a 95-percent reduction in nitrogen oxides and an almost 100-percent reduction in terms of mercury and sulfur dioxide, Progress Energy officials said.

While larger than the current plant, the new one will use considerably less water, too.

Instead of venting hot exhaust gas, the gases will be recaptured to create steam to turn turbines to create more energy out of the same amount of fuel.