Progress Energy to close NC coal-fired plant

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) Progress Energy is closing a coal-fired plant near Lumberton which has served customers since 1949.

The W.H. Weatherspoon Power Plant is closing on Saturday. It was named for a retired Carolina Power & Light Co. executive.

The plant was the company's first major construction project in the post-World War II expansion. Two more coal-fired units were added in the 1950s. Four units fueled by natural gas and oil were added in the 1970s and will continue to operate as needed.

In 2009, Progress Energy announced a plan to shut down 11 coal-burning units at four sites in North Carolina. It's part of the utility's fleet-modernization program. The retirements, representing 30% of Progress Energy's coal generating fleet in North Carolina, are scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.

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