Three, two, one … fire in the hole!
With a few blasts, decades of history at Duke Energy’s power plants have come crashing down over the past two years. These vintage structures -- smokestacks, boilers, powerhouses – that once represented economic vitality in many communities across the Carolinas are being demolished. But, all of this activity is centered around a vision – replacing older, less efficient coal-fired plants with cleaner, more efficient plants, such as natural gas-fired generating units.
Video shows the demolition of these Duke Energy coal plants: Weatherspoon, H.F. Lee, Cape Fear and Cliffside. Music provided by the Skidmore College Orchestra.
Duke Energy has a comprehensive multiyear program to modernize the way it produces energy. This process includes demolishing plants that served as the foundation for growth in the Carolinas from the 1930s through the 1960s. Energy has transformed our lives and it continues to do so, but that would not be possible without generations of coal-fired power plants strategically placed across the Carolinas to drive economic development. The result? Today's flourishing towns and cities.
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While attending the implosions and demolitions, I stood beside longtime employees -- some of whom spent as many as 40 years working at these plants. I could see the emotions in their eyes, but many of them described the events as a passing of the torch, handing over the operations to plants that can often generate twice the amount of energy as the old coal plants.
Similar to many other industries, the energy industry will continue to evolve. When I take a step back to reflect, it is pretty impressive to see how a generation has influenced the communities where we live, work and play. These energy giants may be silent now, but their legacies live on in the hearts of employees and the communities they served.