Wilmington’s Sutton Plant is one of five statewide Duke Energy coal operations being decommissioned—and the closing of this one is of high priority to lawmakers. In November, Duke Energy retired Sutton’s coal operations. Although it’s now a natural gas plant, more than two million tons of dried coal ash—the waste generated after coal is burned—remains on the site. And the legislation that will determine exactly how much time Duke has to dispose of it all is pending in the General Assembly’s current session. WHQR has this look at the Sutton Plant’s retired coal operation.
Duke Energy Progress will be closing its coal-fired power operation serving New Hanover County this December. Pollutants are slowly leaching from the coal-ash basins surrounding the Sutton plant toward groundwater wells that supply drinking water for the nearby Flemington community. However, decommissioning the plant’s ash basins will not guarantee safety for nearby groundwater supplies—not for a long time, that is.
Duke / Progress Energy and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority could vote as early as Wednesday morning on a deal that would install a water line for a largely low-income community on the outskirts of New Hanover County.