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Environmental Footprint

Cleaner and More Efficient: Diversifying Our Generation Fleet

We are committed to diversifying our fleet of power plants to meet the needs of a low-carbon future. In the near term, coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewables must continue to be part of the supply equation as we strive to meet growing demand for reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy. Additionally, we call energy efficiency “the fifth fuel” because it reduces the need for new generation; the cleanest and most efficient power plant is the one you don’t have to build.

Making Cleaner Coal a Reality

Approximately half of the electricity generated in the U.S. is produced with coal. As our nation transitions to a low-carbon future, we are replacing older, less-efficient coal plants with new, cleaner-burning coal technologies. In Edwardsport, Ind., we are building a state-of-the-art 630-megawatt (MW) integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant. IGCC technology converts coal to a synthetic gas that is used to produce power. Duke Energy is well-acquainted with IGCC technology. We were involved with the design and construction of the IGCC plant in Terre Haute, Ind., a Department of Energy demonstration project that has been in operation since 1994.

When completed in 2012, the Edwardsport IGCC plant will be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world. It will emit less sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates than the 50-year old plant it replaces – while providing more than 10 times the generating capacity.

We will continue to study the potential to securely store CO2 in underground geological formations at or near the Edwardsport site. The combination of IGCC and carbon capture and sequestration could become a breakthrough technology to reduce CO2 emissions.

In North Carolina, construction of a new 825-MW advanced cleaner-coal unit is underway at the Cliffside Steam Station. Cliffside Unit 6 will be one of the cleanest and most efficient pulverized coal-fired units in the nation when it comes on line in 2012.

We will retire four less-efficient coal units at the site – totaling 200 MW of capacity – and an additional 800 MW of older coal-fired generation once Cliffside Unit 6 comes on line. We will take additional actions to make Cliffside Unit 6 “carbon neutral” by 2018.

The modernization of existing Unit 5 and construction of the new Unit 6 means that more than twice the amount of electricity will be generated at Cliffside with significantly less emissions of SO2, NOx and mercury.

Natural Gas Remains in the Mix

We received regulatory approval in June 2008 to build two 620-MW combined cycle, natural gas-fired generating plants in North Carolina. These plants will help us modernize our fleet and reduce air emissions. Both plants will be located at existing power plant sites – the Buck and Dan River steam stations. Given the economic downturn, we decided in late 2008 to delay construction of the Buck plant for up to one year. Both plants can still be available to help meet customer demand in 2012.

The Nuclear Solution to Climate Change

Building new nuclear power plants is essential to any serious plan to decarbonize our nation’s energy supply. Nuclear-powered generation has a proven safety record, operates with a very high degree of reliability and emits no greenhouse gases.

We continue to pursue the option to develop the 2,234-MW William States Lee III Nuclear Station in Cherokee County, S.C. In early 2008, we received notice from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that our construction and operating license application for the station was accepted for review. Based on the current NRC schedule, we expect to receive this license by 2012. We also received orders from the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina concurring that continued development of the station is in our customers’ best interest.

Most nuclear power plants now operating in the U.S. were commissioned during the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. Clearly, the costs associated with building a new nuclear station have risen considerably, and used fuel management is a continuing issue. Today, used fuel is safely and securely stored at each station in spent fuel pools or dry canister storage. The federal government continues to search for ways to meet its obligation to provide centralized storage sites for used nuclear fuel. We support the adoption of an alternative – used fuel recycling, a practice more commonly found abroad