As Duke Energy’s work to close 59 ash basins at 21 plants continues to accelerate, expert teams focused on basin closure logged more than 7 million hours in 2018, demonstrating the company’s commitment to safely managing coal ash.
By the end of 2018, the company had ceased sending ash to nearly all basins, well in advance of state and federal requirements. At most operating coal plants, new systems and equipment replaced ash basins, positioning Duke Energy to begin the closure process.
About 22 million tons of ash have been excavated since basin closure began, including more than 5 million tons moved in 2018. Ash has been excavated from seven basins in North Carolina, South Carolina and Indiana, with seven others in North Carolina and Kentucky expected to be complete in 2019, including the Dan River site.
Duke Energy continues to look for innovative ways to recycle and reuse coal ash. Overall, the company successfully recycled nearly 80 percent of the coal ash produced at its operating power plants in 2018.
Hurricane Florence brought historic flooding to the Sutton and H.F. Lee facilities, displacing a small amount of ash and cenospheres, another combustion byproduct. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality testing validated that the public and water quality remained protected throughout the storm. The company’s experts and spokespeople responded quickly to address and correct misleading media reports during the hurricane.
In April 2019, North Carolina officials ordered the company to excavate nine basins where closure decisions had not yet been made. We believe the decision imposes a financial burden on our customers and the economy of the Carolinas through the most expensive and disruptive closure option possible, despite that these basins are rated “low risk” by the state and capping would be fully protective of people and the environment.
The company is appealing the order as we continue to advocate for common sense plans to close all of our basins in ways that benefit customers and communities.