Duke Energy has just submitted plans to the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for a revolutionary upgrade to its Lincoln County Combustion Turbine (LCCT) power plant. The proposal includes contracting Siemens to build a first-of-its-kind advanced gas turbine unit – a single natural gas unit that would be designed to produce over 400 megawatts of power.
“This unique arrangement with Siemens offers a significant cost savings to our customers while providing one of the most advanced, efficient gas turbine units in the U.S.,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “This new technology will provide us with flexible peaking power needed to complement intermittent solar energy resources for our customers and lower emissions across our fleet.”
“Our cooperation with Duke Energy is a very important step in our roadmap to further drive the efficiency of natural gas generation,” said Willi Meixner, CEO of Siemens Power and Gas Division. “In addition to meeting the needs of Duke Energy customers, the proposed project supports jobs and the Carolina economy.”
The turbine, when complete, will be the most efficient combustion turbine Duke has ever operated. It’s expected to be over 25% more efficient and over 5 times more powerful than all of the 16 turbines it currently runs at the plant (each rated at less than 80 megawatts – 1,200 megawatts altogether).
Construction is expected to start in early 2018 with the new turbine expected to go fully operational at the upgraded plant by 2024.
Duke Energy has not disclosed the estimated cost of the new turbine upgrades, but The U.S. Energy Information Agency now estimates that the 400-megawatt plant upgrades could cost upwards of $270 million.