Progress Energy says it will shut down one of its older coal-fired power plants six years early as new electricity generating stations burning cleaner natural gas open.
The Raleigh-based utility said Friday it will retire its W.H. Weatherspoon plant near Lumberton this fall, after this summer's seasonal peak of electricity demand.
The company announced 16 months ago that by 2017 it will close 11 coal-burning generating units that lack scrubbers. Those devices cut down on the amount of pollutants the plant puts into the air.
Progress Energy spokesman Scott Sutton says the lower price of natural gas compared to coal has changed the economics arguments for keeping the Lumberton plant open. He says the company is opening a natural gas plant in Richmond County this summer.