Duke's Carolinas region president Lloyd Yates said Tuesday that the $1 billion project would meet the growing needs of customers as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The project also includes installing solar power generation at the site. It should be complete by the end of 2019.
The centerpiece is the $750 million, 650 MW natural gas-fired plant. But the Charlotte company plans to invest $320 million to build a transmission substation near Campobello, South Carolina, and connect it to the Asheville power plant.
Yates says at today's natural gas prices, the new plant would be about 35 percent less expensive to operate than the existing coal plant, saving customers money.