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Wilmington, Lumberton Coal Plants Slated to Close

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – Progress Energy says it will close four coal-powered plants, including the Sutton Plant in Wilmington and Weatherspoon plant near Lumberton.

None of the plants slated to close have scrubbers, and the company says it would be cost prohibitive to equip the aging plants. Progress Energy spokesperson Mike Hughes says the closings are also part of a move away from coal-powered plants, toward natural gas plants.

"We do believe that with the expectation that at some point we will have carbon legislation at the federal level, that the switch in fuels from coal to natural gas will help us to meet those near-term emission reduction targets."

The company says it's working to replace the 50-year-old Sutton Plant with a new natural gas facility at the same site by 2014. And it's looking at whether it can also switch the Lumberton plant to natural gas.

The utility says 260 people work at the four plants scheduled to close by 2017.

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