Duke Energy looks to demolish Riverbend Steam Station

MOUNT HOLLY – Duke Energy will begin demolishing parts of the Riverbend Steam Station this fall as part of the company’s fleet modernization efforts.

Construction crews install higher stacks at the Riverbend Steam Station in the 1970s due to the Clean Air Act of 1963 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. (File photo courtesy of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County)

The company retired the four coal-fired units in April 2013, two years ahead of schedule.

Duke Energy’s long-term vision for sites with retired coal units like those at Riverbend is to safely return them to ground level using a method known as decommissioning and demolition.

This multi-year process involves cleaning and removing equipment, demolishing the powerhouse and auxiliary buildings, and restoring the site.

The company will fill, grade and seed the land to prevent erosion and protect water quality. Duke Energy plans to own and steward the Riverbend site and will continue operating transmission equipment.

The demolition process will occur using a phased approach.

Phase one will begin this fall and will last through early 2014. During this phase, the company will begin removing structures, including retired natural gas combustion turbine units, coal handling equipment and the water tank.

Phase two is expected to begin in early 2016 and will last several months. During this stage, Duke Energy will remove any remaining powerhouse equipment and demolish the building and chimneys.

Between the two phases, teams will work to relocate electrical equipment.

“Riverbend served this region well for more than eight decades, and Duke Energy is committed to decommissioning the station safely and with a keen focus on protecting the environment,” said Tim Gause, Duke Energy district manager. “This process is a tangible next step in Duke Energy’s longstanding effort to generate energy in cleaner ways and better serve our customers.”

Duke Energy will have retired seven of its older, less efficient coal plants in North Carolina by the end of the year, which is half of the coal fleet in the state.

The company will evaluate multiple ash basin closure options to ensure it selects methods that will protect water quality for the future. Duke Energy’s technical specialists will partner with outside experts to develop the most appropriate closure plan for Riverbend.

Details: www.duke-energy.com/coal-decommissioning.

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