Wake Forest, NC— Last month, the Member Advisory Committee Online Community introduced the topic of “Renewable Energy and You.” In addition to supporting renewables outside our electricity generation portfolio, Wake Electric’s traditional generation resources are emitting far less traditional air pollution.
Primarily in response to the North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act of 2002 that required compliance by 2012, traditional air pollution from electricity generation in North Carolina has been reduced by 75 percent.
The reductions were achieved by Duke Energy / Progress Energy building a new coal-fired plant with the latest pollution control technology, installing pollution control equipment on some newer coal-fired plants, and retiring some older coal-fired plants and replacing them with new natural gas-fired units. The capital investment required for these improvements was over $5 billion.
In the past, Wake Electric’s fuel mix has been 50% nuclear, 40 percent coal and 10 percent natural gas. Looking forward to 2016 when the current transition will be complete, we expect the fuel mix of our generation portfolio to be 60 percent nuclear, 20 percent coal and 20 percent natural gas.
Nationally, many electric utilities are still struggling with the decision to retire or retro-fit older coal-fired power plants in order to comply with new air quality standards. In North Carolina, we made the decision 10 years ago and are nearly finished with the transition to cleaner generation resources.
Do you have a question or comment about Wake Electric’s generation portfolio or the NC Clean Smokestacks Act? Suggestions for future topics? Please submit them to MAC@wemc.com.