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Progress Energy Carolinas Plans Plant Addition, New Transmission Line

Oct 29, 2007 - PRNewswire-FirstCall

As population and energy usage in southern and eastern North Carolina continue to grow, Progress Energy Carolinas plans to invest an estimated $700 million to $750 million in building new electric generation capability at its energy complex in Richmond County and new transmission capacity to move electricity to where it's needed.

Progress Energy's continuous assessment of electric system requirements identified the need for the project to be in service by mid-2011, to help ensure a continued reliable supply of electric service to homes and businesses.

Ensuring state-of-the-art power plants and delivery systems is a critical part of Progress Energy's balanced solution for meeting the needs of a service area growing by 25,000 to 30,000 households and businesses each year. The company also is focused on significantly increasing energy efficiency (through a variety of customer programs under way or in development) and on responsible investments in renewable energy technologies.

The new power unit - an approximately 570-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle plant fueled primarily by natural gas - is planned for the company's existing Richmond County Energy Complex south of Hamlet. The complex is the company's third largest in the Carolinas, with more than 1,230 MW of existing gas-fueled electric generation. No additional property offsite is needed to accommodate the power plant addition.

To ensure that the power produced at the new plant moves efficiently and reliably to where it is needed to meet growing customer demand, Progress Energy also plans a new 230-kiloVolt (kV) transmission line of approximately 64 miles between electric substations in Richmond County and Cumberland County. The easternmost portion of the line will be on the property of Fort Bragg Army Base.

The new transmission line will begin at Progress Energy's Richmond County Energy Complex switchyard, south of Hamlet, and end at a substation on Woodruff Street on Fort Bragg Army Base.

Progress Energy expects to complete the plant and transmission line construction by June 1, 2011. Transmission line route selection, easement acquisition, additional engineering and design and other milestones will occur before construction gets under way. The project will require approval by the N.C. Utilities Commission and other agencies, as well as the Progress Energy board of directors.

The in-service date is based on current information. In-service dates for projects of this sort sometimes move based on changes in growth and usage projections and other criteria. The total length of the new transmission line will depend on the final route selected.

Progress Energy has sent letters to residents whose property might be affected directly by any of the potential power line routes.

To give property owners and others a chance to learn more about the project, Progress Energy will hold two public information meetings: Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Leath Memorial Library, 412 E. Franklin St., Rockingham; and Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Raeford City Hall council chambers, 315 N. Main St., Raeford.

The meetings will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will follow an open-house format, allowing residents to come and go as they please. Progress Energy representatives will provide information on the need, schedule and other aspects of the project. The company also is seeking input from area property owners and residents about proposed routing options for the power line.

A final route for the transmission line will be chosen in the first quarter of 2008, and Progress Energy expects to base that selection in large part on public input as well as input from state and federal agencies with an interest in the project. Acquisition of the transmission line easements begins in mid-2008 and is scheduled to continue until mid-2009. Clearing for the line will begin in mid-2009. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2010 and to be completed by mid-2011. Plant construction is scheduled to begin in 2009 and be completed in 2011.

The new transmission line will be built on 100-foot-wide property easements. Progress Energy will be investigating a number of routing options to determine the route that poses the least overall impact (to property owners, the environment, cultural and natural resources, etc.). Current construction plans call for the line to be suspended on steel-pole structures (some with guy wires and some without). The poles are generally 80 to 110 feet above ground and spaced every 500 to 700 feet apart, depending on terrain. Easements enable Progress Energy to build and maintain the line. Property owners retain ownership of the land, with some restrictions on its use.

The project is one of several major transmission system enhancements planned or under way throughout Progress Energy's service area as part of the company's plan to ensure a continuous, reliable flow of electricity to customers. Building and maintaining state-of-the-art power plants and delivery systems is a key component of a balanced solution to meeting future energy needs - along with increased energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy technologies.

Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $10 billion in annual revenues. The company includes two major utilities that serve more than 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. Progress Energy is the 2006 recipient of the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence. The company also is the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. Progress Energy serves two fast-growing areas of the country, and the company is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company's Web site at www.progress- energy.com.

SOURCE Progress Energy Carolinas

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