Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Progress Energy Joins Stampede Away from Coal

Progress Energy is shutting down coal-fired power plants.

The trickle has turned into a torrent: following close on the news that a Michigan utility has converted a power plant from coal to sustainable biomass, Progress Energy Carolinas just announced that within the next seven years it plans to retire 11 coal-burning power units at four sites.


Progress Energy Carolinas is a subsidiary of Progress Energy, which is far from giving all of its fossil fuel operations the old heave-ho.  However, the move is still significant and Progress is no small potatoes.  It’s a Fortune 500 company with more than 3 million customers in three states, and the eleven units represent a huge chunk (about 1/3) of its coal-fired power generation fleet in North Carolina.  With friends like these, coal doesn’t need any enemies.

Progress Energy and Coal-Fired Power Plants

The 11 coal-fired units that are set to shut down do not have “scrubbers” that desulfurize flue-gas.  Among other reasons for the move, Progress Energy determined that a sulfur control retrofit was not worth the expense.  That’s the good news.  The so-so news is that the coal-fired megawatts (a total of 1500 MW) will be replaced with new natural gas-fired units.  Compared to burning coal, the use of natural gas will result in a significant reduction in emissions such as carbon dioxide, mercury, and sulfur dioxide, but natural gas is still a nonrenewable fossil fuel.  Now, back to the good news: two of the sites, Cape Fear and Weatherspoon, have the potential to convert up to 150 MW to sustainable biomass instead of natural gas.  Progress Energy isn’t promising anything, but it is starting to dabble in wind power and other sustainable alternatives, so it would appear that the company is serious about biomass.

Image: Lump of coal by joshua l on

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


There aren’t many solar success stories from the Southeast, making Raleigh, NC, stand out in a region with low-cost electricity and modest sunshine. With...

Carbon Pricing

The Clean Power Plan just finalized by the Obama administration has occupied the media for most of a week now. So what’s the big deal? The...

Air Quality

Would you like to know how US power plants stack up to the rest of the world’s in terms of carbon emissions? I doubt...

Air Quality

Is there a relationship between the air pollution released by coal-fired power plants and higher suicide rates? New research is strongly suggesting that there...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.