WILMINGTON — Duke Energy’s Sutton Steam Plant near downtown Wilmington went out with a bang early Wednesday morning.
According to Duke Energy officials, it’s another significant milestone in the company’s campaign to replace older, less-efficient coal-fired plants with cleaner energy for its customers.
The implosion brought down the last of three boilers at the Sutton Plant. This is the fourth boiler implosion at the site. The first was demolished in April; two others that followed in May. The equipment was once used to burn coal to make steam, which turn powered turbines to generate energy to customers across the Carolinas.
As part of demolition work at Sutton Plant, crews removed the plant’s two iconic red-and-white striped smokestacks in March 2016, using a ring-line platform that allowed the stacks to be removed from the top down.
The Sutton Steam Plant is the seventh of such plants in the Carolinas to be demolished over the last five years. The Sutton Plant began its commercial service in 1954. The coal units were retired in 2013, after a new natural gas-fired plant came into service at the site.
“The new natural gas units generate electricity more efficiently for customers and with lower emissions than the coal plant did during its operation,” Duke Energy Spokesman Jeff Brooks noted in the energy company’s news release.
The implosion of the Sutton Plant marks the last Duke Energy coal plant to be removed in eastern North Carolina.
Along with the Sutton Plant in Wilmington, Duke Energy has demolished coal plants in several cities including, the Cape Fear Plant in Moncure, Cliffside Station Units 1-4 in Mooresboro, Dan River Steam Station in Eden, Weatherspoon Plant in Lumberson, and the Robinson Plant in Hartsville, South Carolina.
Duke Energy is in the early stages of demolition at the Buck Steam Station in Salisbury and the Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly. The company is also continuing demolition of portions of the W.S. Lee Plant in Belton, South Carolina.
At many locations, retired coal plants have been replaced by new, highly efficient natural gas plants. Only seven of 16 coal plants remain in operation in the Carolinas, Brooks said.
To learn more about the company’s coal plant decommissioning program, visit Duke Energy’s decommissioning website.
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