Hamlet, N.C. —Leaders of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives gathered today near Hamlet with federal, state and local elected officials and other dignitaries to formally dedicate the Hamlet Plant, a peak generating facility.
The facility, owned by the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation’s (NCEMC), began commercial operation in December 2007. The plant will operate when the demand for energy and the wholesale cost of power is at its highest – during the hottest days of the summer and the coldest nights of the winter.
NC Senator Bill Purcell and NC Representative Melanie Goodwin were in attendance. Ryan Combs, a representative from the office of U.S. Senator Richard Burr, was also present.
NCEMC, the power supplier for the state’s electric cooperatives, began work on the Hamlet Plant two and one-half years ago. The natural gas facility has the capacity to produce up to 280 megawatts of electricity annually.
Rick Thomas, CEO of NCEMC, said, “We have received tremendous support from the local community and Richmond County officials, which has really helped to facilitate the construction of this plant. We’re pleased to be part of this community.”
The Hamlet Plant is a simple cycle plant. The plant is fueled by natural gas, which goes through a combustion process to expand hot gas that will drive turbine rotors. Natural gas is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly ways to produce electricity, and the technology is efficient, safe and reliable.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 of 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain 95,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.