Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) announced today that its new 625 MW L.V. Sutton combined-cycle natural gas plant is officially open for business. The plant began operations today, pushing out power to North Carolina and South Carolina customers from its Wilmington, NC location.

This latest addition to Duke Energy's fleet comes as a $600 million replacement for a recently retired 575 MW coal-fired plant in the same location. Compared to the previous plant's 2007 figures, this natural gas alternative cuts sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides by over 97%, and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 41%. 

Sutton

Source: Duke Energy, Retired Coal-Fired Plant 

"We continue to transform our power plant fleet while maintaining our focus on generating electricity that is both reliable and affordable," said Allen Clare, Duke Energy Progress' Sutton plant manager. "Our new natural gas plant is another stride forward in meeting customer needs using highly efficient, increasingly clean energy sources."

This latest move comes as part of Duke Energy's $9 billion modernization project, which includes the retirement of almost 6,300 MW of coal-fired plants.

Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned, but he does use electricity. You can follow him on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.