What “Protect NC Utility Ratepayers” Really Does And Why the Provision Should Be Removed from H374

  • The provision includes a 20% cement replacement requirement of fly ash for cement which assumes that there is a one to one substitution of fly ash for concrete
  • To meet engineering specifications and to produce durable concrete, the fly ash to concrete required substitution rate is closer to two to one which means the cement replacement percentage should be around 40%
  • The study from the University of Kentucky for Duke Energy required by S.L. 2014-122 assumes the inaccurate one to one ratio. Their estimate of 600,000 tons annually for 2015-2019 should be much higher.
  • The Ready Mixed industry study commissioned by Dr. Leming at North Carolina State University shows that the concrete industry could have used 959,000 tons of fly ash in 2016 alone
  • Quality fly ash for the construction of roads, bridges and buildings is priced between $35 and $45 a ton. At $40 a ton and purchasing the whole 900,000 tons which concrete desperately needs right now, Duke Energy would have revenue of $36,000,000 annually
  • The Ready Mixed industry must purchase most of its fly ash from outside the state because the Duke Energy coal ash has not been reprocessed to a quality level that is usable in concrete
  • Coal fired energy production has dramatically been reduced over the past few years and will continue to drop as Duke has clearly outlined its goal to move away from coal fired plants completely thus reducing the availability of quality ash from existing sources
  • The NC State study estimate for fly ash in NC, SC and VA annually is 2,785,000 tons
  • Coal Ash clean up costs for Duke are estimated to be $4.5B over 12 years
  • The costs to be studied by the EMC requires that the third project be “commercially viable” which no other type of disposal for coal ash ponds is required to meet
  • This study process understates the total economics of the projects by ignoring the cost savings that accrue from avoiding the costs associated with permitting and constructing new CCR landfills, transporting excavated coal ash from an impoundment to the CCR landfill, place and compact ash in the CCR landfill, install a liner system on top of the CCR land fill and longer-term, post-closure monitoring of the CCR landfill.
  • Even if the capital cost for these projects is overstated, the total cost savings from NOT landfilling the excavated coal ash will still be significantly less than the costs for “the installation and operation of an (additional) ash beneficiation project.”
  • Duke spokeswoman, Paige Sheehan, says “We did not request, and do not want, a delay in the deadline”. Charlotte Business Journal 6/16/2017
  • Any language that delays the third reuse site effectively kills Duke’s previous agreement for 3 beneficial reuse sites and forces the importation of overseas coal ash!

The concrete industry will use all 900,000 from the three beneficiation projects.  Purchasing of the coal ash produced will help defray the cost of clean up to ratepayers.  The coal ash will be permanently removed.  If concrete doesn’t buy it from Duke Energy, it will be imported from outside the country.  Construction cannot stop in North Carolina and our industry demands the ability to buy fly ash from NC sources as a part of the solution for coal ash clean up in our state!

Connie Wilson, CRMCA Lobbyist, 919-274-0557