Piedmont Natural Gas has completed its Wayne County Pipeline Project, which will provide natural gas delivery service to a new gas-fueled combined-cycle power plant at Progress Energy's H.F. Lee Energy Complex near Goldsboro, NC, the company said Monday.

The project involved the construction of 38 miles of 20-inch natural gas transmission pipelines and additional compression facilities. Natural gas will be used at Progress Energy's new facility to replace three coal-fired units, helping to dramatically reduce overall emissions from the facility and lower operating costs. The new power plant is under construction and due to go into operation by the middle of next year, a Progress Energy Carolinas spokesman told NGI.

"This is an important milestone in realizing our fleet-modernization strategy," said Progress Energy Carolinas CEO Lloyd Yates. "Increasing the fuel supply is a vital piece of the puzzle as we work to reduce environmental impacts from our operations while preserving the reliable service our customers depend on. Expanding natural gas supply further into Eastern North Carolina will also serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the region."

Progress Energy Carolinas announced in 2009 that it would shut down three coal-fired generating units and build 950 MW of gas-fired combined-cycle generation at the site as their replacement (see Daily GPI, Aug. 19, 2009). The relatively quick in-service date was needed to ensure compliance with the North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act, which established more stringent emission-reduction targets in 2013, Progress said. In addition to an estimated 60% reduction in the facility's carbon dioxide emission rate, the new units would decrease the facility's emission rates for mercury by 100%, sulfur dioxide by nearly 100% and nitrogen oxides by more than 95%.

Piedmont reached an agreement with Progress Energy Carolinas in 2009 to provide natural gas delivery service to the power plant (see Daily GPI, Oct. 23, 2009). At that time Piedmont's investment in the pipeline and compression facilities was estimated at $85 million.

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