Butler-Warner Generation Plant

PWC has the distinction of being the only municipal utility company in North Carolina to own and operate a power plant. The Butler-Warner Generation Plant (BWGP), named in honor of Robert H. Butler and James R. Warner, former chairmen of the Commission, was originally built to protect PWC customers from incurring high peaking power costs.

PWC negotiated a long-term full-requirements power supply contract with Progress Energy Corporation (now Duke Energy Progress) which began in 2012, and a companion lease agreement for BWGP was negotiated.  Under the terms of this lease agreement, DEP was given the right to dispatch BWGP to meet the needs of the DEP system in exchange for a capacity payment based on how well BWGP performs.  The revenue from the lease agreement is used to reduce the rates charged to PWC customers.  The lease term will expire in 2021 but is subject to renewal by mutual consent.

The current BWGP equipment is a result of consistent forward thinking and planning by PWC Commissioners and staff in the face of an evolving electric industry.  Between 1976 and 1980, PWC installed eight peak-shaving gas turbine generators capable of producing a maximum of 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity using either natural gas or fuel oil. In 1988, six of these units were converted to a combined-cycle steam mode which increased generating capacity of the plant by approximately 65 MW, to a total maximum of 265 MW of generating capacity.

In 1993, a thermal energy storage (ice storage) system was added to the plant for cooling the gas turbines in the summer peak season. When in operation, this system offsets the reduction in capacity that comes with the higher summer temperatures and enables the plant to generate at its maximum capacity even during the hottest summer period.

  • Location: Custer Road, northeast Cumberland County
  • Built: Initial Installation – 1976
  • Major Upgrade: 1988, 1992
  • Generation Capacity: 265,000 kW
  • Features: Eight G.E. Turbines (25,000 kW) each; 65,000 kW Steam Turbine
  • Summer System Peak Demand: 476.6 MW (August 9, 2007)
  • Winter System Peak Demand: 490.2 MW (February 20, 2015)
  • Distinctions: Included on list of “Plants to See” by the World Energy Conference & APPA