Duke Energy to retire coal power units at Ohio power plant

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Duke Energy will retire the remaining coal-fired units, 5 and 6, at its W.C. Beckjord Station in New Richmond, Ohio, effective Sept. 1.

Due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on power plant emissions, Duke Energy Ohio three years ago announced its intent to retire Beckjord Station's coal-fired units 1 through 6 — totaling 862 MW of generating capacity — by Jan. 1, 2015. Details were recorded in the company's 2011 Resource Plan filing with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Beyond those necessary for the transition to decommissioning, current Beckjord employees will be relocated to nearby Duke Energy Ohio plants.

Four oil-fired combustion turbines (CT) on the site, which are capable of producing 244 MW of electricity and are primarily used for generating power during periods of high demand, are planned to continue operations. Also, certain substation and transmission or distribution electrical equipment will remain on site and in operation.

Retirement of the Beckjord units are subject to approval by regulatory authorities and the grid operator.

Beckjord unit 1 was retired in 2012; units 2 and 3 were retired in 2013; and unit 4 retired earlier this year. None of the units or operations at Beckjord, including these being retired, were part of the sales agreement recently announced with Dynegy.

The W.C. Beckjord Station, 18 miles upstream of Cincinnati on the Ohio River, was dedicated on June 12, 1952, with the first 100 MW unit in commercial operation. Five additional coal-fired units were added by 1969. Four oil-fired combustion turbines were added in the early 1970s.

Duke Energy Ohio owned 100 percent of the first five generating units at the station, and jointly owns unit 6 (37.5 percent ownership) with American Electric Power Co. (12.5 percent) and Dayton Power and Light Co. (50 percent).

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