Duke Energy partners with Siemens to expand North Carolina site

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seimens generating capacity
The proposed unit would add 400 megawatts of generating capacity (Seimens)

Duke Energy has asked regulators for permission to expand its Lincoln County gas-fired turbine power plant. The project is needed to meet a growing demand for electricity during winter and summer months, the utility says.

“We’re doing it because we have a need for peaking power in the 2024 time frame,” Charlotte Public Radio quoted Duke spokesman Rick Rhodes as saying.

The project calls for installation a new gas-fired unit, adding 400 megawatts of generating capacity to the plant’s existing 1,200 megawatts.

Duke has hired Siemens as its contractor. Siemens says the project will be the first for a new production line in Charlotte, and will allow it to test new, more efficient technology. Siemens says the new unit will be 25 percent more efficient than the plant’s existing turbines.

In a press release, Duke said the new unit would save money. “This new technology will provide us with flexible peaking power needed to complement intermittent solar energy resources for our customers and lower emissions across our fleet,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.

The project’s cost is not being disclosed.

Pending regulatory approval, construction could begin as early as mid-2018, with gas turbine testing beginning in 2020 on Duke Energy’s 746-acre site near Denver, North Carolina. The site currently houses 16 gas-fueled, simple-cycle combustion turbines capable of generating 1,200 megawatts during short periods when customer needs are highest.

Siemens manufactures and services gas turbines, steam turbines and generators at its Charlotte Energy Hub.

“Our cooperation with Duke Energy is a very important step in our roadmap to further drive the efficiency of natural gas generation,” said Willi Meixner, CEO of Siemens Power and Gas Division. “In addition to meeting the needs of Duke Energy customers, the proposed project supports jobs and the Carolina economy.”

The Lincoln County site, which was completed in 1995, includes existing infrastructure with access to natural gas and transmission connections, making it suitable for expansion.

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