Lower customer costs, regional economic growth, increased efficiency and flexibility are potential benefits of a recent agreement between Duke Energy and Siemens.
Duke Energy submitted plans to the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) today for expansion of its Lincoln County Combustion Turbine (LCCT) generation site. The proposal includes Siemens as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for the project, including supply of the advanced gas turbine unit.
Approximately 400 megawatts of peaking energy will be needed to meet Duke Energy customers' needs in the Carolinas by 2024. Approval for early construction provides Siemens with an opportunity to build and test its newest gas turbine technologies in time to meet that need. Following construction, testing and validation, the new unit will be turned over to Duke Energy for operation. The proposed unit would be the most efficient combustion turbine in the Duke Energy fleet and around 25 percent more efficient than the existing Lincoln County turbines.
"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."
Siemens manufactures and services gas turbines, steam turbines and generators at its Charlotte Energy Hub.
"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."
Pending regulatory approval, construction could begin as early as mid-2018, with gas turbine testing beginning in 2020 on Duke Energy's 746-acre site near Denver, N.C. The site currently houses 16 gas-fueled, simple-cycle combustion turbines capable of generating 1,200 megawatts during short periods when customers' needs are highest.
The Lincoln County site, completed in 1995, includes existing infrastructure such as access to natural gas and transmission connections, making it suitable for expansion.