Big Event at Duke Power
The Cliffside Steam Station had existed for less than a decade when this photo was made, when Duke's turbine #3 went on line. In 1940 the plant began operation with two turbines, each capable of generating 38,000 kilowatts. This new turbine in the photo and its sister #4, both of which went on line in 1948, could each churn out 61,000 KW. Twenty four years later, in 1972, Duke added Unit 5, a monster that could geneate 560,000 KW. All these combined can consume 7,400 tons of coal a day, and provide 760,000 KW—or 760 megawatts. (Cliffside Mill's new hydro power output is a miniscule 400kw, but every little bit helps. All of Cliffside's generated power is sold to Duke Power.)
If Duke's application to the government is approved, a new highly efficient 800 MW unit will come on line around 2010, bringing the total output of the station to a gigantic 1,600 MW. (This would represent an investment in the area of over $2 billion. What would that do to our economy?)
And a second 800 MW unit may be waiting in the wings, depending on future customer growth and Duke's decisions for building a new nuclear plant. Why do we need such increases in power generation? The population of the U. S. has doubled since 1950 and shows no signs of slowing down, especially in our part of the country.