CRMCA Lobbyist Connie Wilson answered a call for information from the House Republican Caucus today – reference the letter and info below:


June 27, 2017

Dear Republican House Caucus Members:

Yesterday Rep. Chuck McGrady sent an e-mail with concerns on the amount of fly ash needed by the concrete industry to justify the third beneficiation project required in last year’s coal ash bill.  I want to provide to you the same information that has been shared with Rep. McGrady in the past so that you can better understand why Ready Mix producers are so adamant that there is demand for all 900,000 tons of coal ash that will be produced by the three projects.

The NC Legislature requested the Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association (CRMCA) to find a third party to conduct a study on Fly Ash Needs in 2015.  CRMCA contracted with Dr. Michael Leming at NC State in 2015 for a study on the fly ash needs of our industry.  In 2017, he updated the study by running the now available actual population and cement consumer data through the study model.  Below are two charts showing the actual need in North Carolina for quality fly ash for 2016 at 959,000 tons.  Keep in mind, fly ash is a regional issue so Leming has included the needs for SC and VA which as a total account for a an annual need of 2,317,000 tons.

You are probably hearing from some stakeholders that the fly ash market will be “flooded” if all three projects come on line.  They reference a study completed by Duke Energy in 2016 that assumes a 20% “cement replacement percentage” with no data being referenced for the source of that rate.  This 20% rate assumes that for every pound of cement removed from a concrete batch there is needed only one pound of fly ash to replace it.  The actual replacement amount is closer to two to one which is why current fly ash specifications for concrete mixtures are around 35% on average and explains why the NC State study has the more accurate amount needed of 959,000 for 2016.

Duke Energy has estimated that the coal ash clean up costs will be $4.5B over 12 years with 158,000,000 tons in ponds.  The amount paid by concrete producers for quality fly ash is between $35 and $45 a ton.  Assuming the current average price of $40 and purchase of all 900,000 the concrete industry will pay $36,000,000 to defray the cost of coal ash annually.  We can understand why companies who have their North Carolina business model reliant upon coal ash ponds, clay mines, lined landfills and lower quality fly ash would have a problem with three beneficiation projects.   It will reduce the amount of fly ash in ponds, going to landfills and get rid of the coal ash once and for all in concrete.  In South Carolina where a beneficiation project is located for concrete at a coal ash pond, arsenic levels dropped by 60% to 90% after just a few years of excavation and processing.

The Senate PCS for H374 has a study provision for the third processing unit with narrowly drafted parameters set that the EMC can study using the erroneous 20% “cement replacement rate” and financial requirements that no other coal ash management system is required to have.  The study is already preset to conclude that there is no need for a third project.  North Carolina’s need for quality fly ash is over 900,000 annually and growing.  Reducing the beneficiation projects down to only two will continue to force the concrete industry to purchase fly ash out of state and out of country.  The Morehead City Port has a current proposal to lease space by a company who will initially import 150,000 tons of bagged fly ash from India.

Information on the coal ash needs for the concrete industry has been shared with Rep. Chuck McGrady in the past and we are working on finding a time that is convenient to him to meet to further explain the NC State study and errors in the Duke Energy study.  If any of you would like to meet with me to discuss this information further, please e-mail, call or grab me in the hallway.  I appreciate your time and interest in our desire to help defray the cost of coal ash cleanup, protect our communities and produce a quality product usable in concrete for building North Carolina.

Connie Wilson
CRMCA Lobbyist

2017 Review Showing Actual Need for Fly Ash by State

2016 2016
State Updated Estimate Original Estimate
North Carolina 959,000 900,000
South Carolina 651,000 488,000
Virginia 707,000 750,000
Total 2,317,000 2,138,000




Projected Estimates of Fly Ash Demand by State

*published in 2015 Leming Study

State 2015 2020 2025 2030
North Carolina 832,000 1,162,000 1,150,000 1,877,000
South Carolina 368,000 482,000 588,000 689,000
Virigina 714,000 897,000 1,080,000 1,268
 Total 1,914,000 2,541,000 2,818,000 2,567,268


Included with letter was a copy of Dr. Lemings Full Study including the 2017 Review – full version can be found here.