Agreement reached to close Duke Energy’s North Carolina ash basins

Published on January 03, 2020 by Kevin Randolph

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Duke Energy has reached an agreement with state regulators and community groups to close its nine remaining coal ash basins in North Carolina, the company announced Thursday.

Under the plan with North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the majority of the basins will be excavated, with the ash moved to lined landfills.

“This agreement significantly reduces the cost to close our coal ash basins in the Carolinas for our customers, while delivering the same environmental benefits as full excavation,” Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said. “We are fully focused on these important activities and building a clean energy future for the Carolinas.”

The company will excavate seven of the basins and move the ash to lined landfills, including two at the Allen Steam Station in Belmont, North Carolina, one at Belews Creek Steam Station in Belews Creek, one at Mayo Plant in Roxboro, one basin at the Roxboro Plant in Semora and two at the Cliffside/Rogers Energy Complex in Mooresboro.

At the Roxboro Plant and the Marshall Steam Station in Terrell, North Carolina, uncapped basin ash will be excavated and transported to lined landfills. At the two locations, sections of the basins were filled with ash, and state permitted facilities, including lined landfills, were built on top of those sections of the ash basins. That material will not be moved and will be monitored and closed under other state regulations.

Under the agreement, almost 80 million tons of ash will be excavated, bringing the total amount of material Duke Energy will excavate in North Carolina to approximately 124 million tons.

The excavation would be completed in 10 to 15 years under the plan, which calls for expedited state permit approvals.