Sutton Plant implosion showcases Duke Energy transition to cleaner energy in the Carolinas

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  • Implosion brings down the last Duke Energy coal plant in Eastern N.C.

  • Duke Energy has demolished nearly half of its coal fleet in the Carolinas

  • Crews have safely excavated 1 million tons of coal ash from plant basins

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The Sutton Steam Plant in Wilmington ended its service with a bang, another significant milestone in Duke Energy's campaign to replace older, less-efficient plants with cleaner energy for its customers.

An early-morning implosion on Wednesday brought down the last of three boilers at the plant. The equipment was used to burn coal to make steam, which in turn powered turbines to generate energy for customers across the Carolinas.
The implosion removes the last Duke Energy coal plant in Eastern N.C., and brings to seven the number of coal plants that have been demolished in the Carolinas in the last five years.
View a video of the boiler implosion here:
Duke Energy has demolished coal plants at the following sites:
  • Cape Fear Plant – Moncure, N.C.
  • Cliffside Station Units 1-4 – Mooresboro, N.C.
  • H.F. Lee Plant – Goldsboro, N.C.
  • Robinson PlantHartsville, S.C.
  • Sutton Plant – Wilmington, N.C.
  • Weatherspoon Plant – Lumberton, N.C.

Duke Energy is also in the early stages of demolition at the Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C., and the Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly, N.C., and continuing demolition of portions of the W.S. Lee Plant in Belton, S.C.. At many locations, retired coal plants have been replaced by new, highly efficient natural gas plants.

Only seven of 16 coal plants remain in operation in the Carolinas.

To learn more about the company's coal plant decommissioning program, visit

View a video compilation of Duke Energy's progress imploding power plants across the state here:

About Sutton Plant
Sutton Plant began commercial service in 1954 and the coal units were retired in 2013 after a new natural gas-fired plant came into service at the site. The new natural gas units generate electricity more efficiently for customers and with lower emissions than the coal plant did during its operation. 

As part of demolition work at Sutton Plant, crews removed the plant's two iconic red-and-white striped smokestacks in March 2016, using a ring-line platform that allowed the stacks to be removed from the top down.

View a timelapse video of the smokestack removal here:

View a historical feature story about this plant here:

Sutton Plant ash basin closure continues
Duke Energy continues to safely excavate and close ash basins at the Sutton Plant. Crews have safely excavated 1 million tons of coal ash from Sutton Plant basins since excavation operations began one year ago. Ash is being transported by rail to a fully lined structural fill at the Brickhaven Mine in Chatham County, N.C.

Approximately 2 million tons of the 7 million tons of ash at Sutton Plant will be taken to the Brickhaven Mine structural fill, with remaining ash to be stored in a fully lined landfill on Sutton Plant property. Construction of the landfill is beginning now that necessary permits and approvals have been received from the state.     

Closing ash basins at the site is part of the overall effort to retire coal ash operations at the Sutton Plant in ways that protect the public, the environment and costs customers pay.

For additional information about ash basin closure at the Sutton Plant, please visit

About Duke Energy
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at

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Contact: Jeff Brooks | 919.219.9215
24-Hour: 800.559.3853
Twitter: @DE_JeffB @DukeEnergy