Peaking Plants Overview
The North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) provides power for 25 of the state’s 26 electric cooperatives. The state’s cooperatives serve an estimated 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. North Carolina’s energy demand continues to grow and the electric cooperatives have an obligation to ensure a reliable and affordable source of electricity to their residential and business consumers.
In order to fulfill this obligation, NCEMC began commercial operation on a peak generating plant in Anson County on June 1, 2007. Another peak generating plant near the town of Hamlet in Richmond County is currently under construction and will begin commercial operation before the end of 2007. Each peak generating facility will produce approximately 300-megawatts. These plants will use natural gas as the primary fuel and low sulfur fuel oil as a backup.
As peak-load plants, they will primarily operate during times of high demand, such as the hottest summer days or coldest winter nights. Each plant is expected to operate about 700 to 1,200 hours a year, or about 10 percent of the time. North Carolina electric cooperative consumers will be the end users of these facilities.
The two sites are located in Anson and Richmond counties.
The Anson County location is a 170-acre parcel on a former gravel-mining site, southwest of Blewett Falls Lake and south of Clark Mountain. The Hamlet site is located on a 260-acre parcel adjacent to the Progress Energy generation facility in Richmond County, just south of U.S. 74. Both sites provide the necessary access to electric transmission lines and natural gas resources.
Construction began in July 2005 for the Anson site and in October 2005 for the Hamlet site. The Anson site launched commercial operation on June 1, 2007, and the Hamlet site will come online before the end of 2007. Each plant is estimated to cost $150 million. Each plant will occupy approximately 15 acres on their respective sites. The large sites were selected in order to provide adequate space for aesthetic and environmental buffers.