OREANDA-NEWS. Duke Energy will perform a "steam blow" cleaning process next week at the new Sutton Combined Cycle Plant. Steam blows are critical to maintain the integrity and good working condition of the plant's boiler and steam turbine.

Neighbors can expect to hear a low rumble from the release of steam and to see steam coming from the plant during the 10-day period. This process is part of initial startup procedures and will not be repeated.

"We appreciate our neighbors' cooperation and patience and look forward to sharing upcoming milestones with them," said Joel Moran, project manager at Sutton Combined Cycle Plant. "The new facility, which began initial operational testing in late July, is part of Duke Energy's fleet moderization program to meet customers' energy needs in a more efficient and environmentally responsible way."

Plant construction began two years ago, and neighbors can expect to see significant project milestones in the second half of this year. After nearly 60 years in service, the three coal units at Sutton will be retired this December once the new natural gas plant begins commercial operation.

During the next month, construction traffic will largely decrease. However, considerable system testing and process verification will continue through the beginning of 2014.

"Duke Energy looks toward the future with a keen focus on safety, operational excellence and environmental stewardship at the Sutton site," said plant manager, Allen Clare. "We are proud of our excellent safety record and community volunteerism, and plan to continue these practices at the new combined cycle plant."

Once the station achieves commercial operation, it will be staffed by about 40 engineers, operators and technicians. Approximately 65 percent of the staff has transferred from the retiring coal plant. Duke Energy invested nearly USD 600 million in the Sutton plant project and continues to invest in similar projects to generate electricity in cleaner ways.