In the energy industry, the more options the better.
That’s part of Duke Energy’s effort to allow dual-fuel optionality at some of its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina.
What is dual-fuel optionality? It allows certain generating units to produce electricity using either coal and/or natural gas – sometimes referred to as gas co-firing.
Co-firing provides a number of benefits to the company, customers and the environment. By using natural gas instead of coal, the company can lower its overall carbon dioxide emissions.
It also allows the company to take advantage of the price difference between coal and natural gas. Customers save when the company can lower its overall fuel costs.
At the Rogers Energy Complex, the company is pursuing co-firing up to 40 percent natural gas at unit 5; and 100 percent at unit 6.
At the Belews Creek Station, the company is looking at co-firing up to 50 percent natural gas at both of the coal units. The company will also invest more than $200 million to begin co-firing at all four coal units at the Marshall Steam Station.
Co-firing also enables Duke Energy to make the best use of its existing power plants and still take advantage of attractive natural gas pricing.
The flexibility and cost savings gained by operating existing coal units on gas are achieved at a much lower capital investment than building a new combined cycle power plant. Gas retrofits cost about 10 percent of the cost of a new combined-cycle unit.