Click here to see more short videos modeling different segments of the Foothills Transmission lines.
Edneyville Community has published a paper reviewing underground options for the transmission line.
From Hendersonville Lightning:
The group decided to independently study the cost and viability of running underground lines, she said. “There’s just so much misinformation out there,” she said.
Although Duke contended it had not run underground lines, she cited an October 2013 article “by two of Duke’s senior engineers” in the trade journal Transmission and Distribution World that describes an underground transmission line installation that Duke completed that year. “This line, the Barnard Creek-Town Creek 230-kV underground line, is the same voltage as the line now proposed to be run overhead through Henderson County,” the report said.
Read more in the Hendersonville Lightning
Just this month (8/18/2015) it was announced that Northern Pass officials unveiled a new project route Tuesday that buries an additional 52 miles of the 192 mile transmission line under state roadways. As reported in the Concord Monitor (NH):
The company also announced a multimillion-dollar fund to invest in communities that host the project and a plan to direct a portion of the line’s hydropower to New Hampshire consumers.
But in order to bury more of the 192-mile line that would run from Pittsburg to Deerfield, the company had to scale back the size of the project from 1,200 megawatts to 1,000 – still enough to power 1 million homes.
Even though Northern Pass officials had previously said that burying more of the electric transmission line would send costs skyrocketing, a top Eversource Energy executive said Tuesday the project is still estimated to cost $1.4 billion.
Furthermore, the article stated that “Some had complained the project wouldn’t directly benefit New Hampshire, and instead feed power-hungry states to its south.”
The new transmission line from Duke Power seems destined to go through the foothills somewhere, unless we can do something about it!
In Duke’s first official filing to move forward with their proposed Western Carolinas Modernization Project, the power company has begun the official process of making this plan a reality. In it, Duke representatives say that their transmission line will have to go through the foothills somewhere:
Duke says it is interested in finding the best possible route for the community. But the company says ultimately, the line will have to run from existing transmission infrastructure near Campobello to Fletcher, N.C., just south of Asheville.
Those points are fixed. There are many possible routes between them, and Duke says information received from residents about historic areas, potential economic harm and environmental concerns will be part of the company’s considerations.
But the line is going to have to go through the Foothills somewhere.
In a recent announcement sent out on August 21, Duke Power representatives have told the South Carolina Public Service Commission that they will send Duke Power employees to attend the PSC hearing in Landrum on Thursday, August 27. Duke’s representatives at the meeting will include those directly involved in selecting the route on which to build their new transmission line, meaning this is a terrific opportunity to directly influence Duke’s decision makers. Your voices are making Duke Power take notice, and they even mention in this announcement that they’ve received over 4,000 comments so far!
Duke Power’s representatives will not be speaking at this meeting – instead, their employees will wait until after the final application is filed with the South Carolina Public Service Commission to comment publicly and testify at various hearings.
Additionally, Duke Power stated in this announcement that they will, as they’ve previously stated, be announcing their selected route for the new transmission line in early October. They will then be filing their formal application to commence with construction on all the various parts of the Western Carolinas Modernization Project in late 2015 or early 2016.
Carolina Land Coalition is partnered with MountainTrue
Duke Energy’s so-called “Modernization” Plan doubles down on fossil fuels and threatens to disrupt hundreds of property owners, sensitive habitats, and the visual beauty of Western North Carolina’s mountains. In an August 2 article in the Hendersonville Times-News, Duke Energy cites “explosive” growth and increased energy demand in WNC to justify both a bigger fossil-fueled power plant at Lake Julian and a massive and expensive 56-mile network of high-voltage transmission lines between WNC and Campobello, South Carolina. However, Duke has so far not provided solid data to back up their claim or an explanation WNC deserves.
While Asheville and other areas are growing, according to the NC Office of State Management and Budget, outlooks through 2020 indicate WNC will see only moderate or low population growth across all 23 counties.
We still need answers. Duke is guaranteed a rate of return on all capital investments, and has a profit incentive to build both of these large projects. Duke has made broad statements of need, but still has not released a true detailed analysis demonstrating that need. All of these factors should be examined together to ensure Duke is proposing the least impactful project both in terms of the environment and rates.
In the absence of this analysis, and by locking WNC into a fossil fuel future with these oversized projects, this plan appears to be a backward-looking “Fossilization” plan rather than a true “Modernization” plan.
We agree! Additional independent study should be prepared on the overall need, scope, impact and alternatives for the Foothills Modernization Project
An independent analysis of future power demand could show whether the transmission line is as essential as Duke says it is. This would not be the first time such a study has been done on a Duke project in the region.
This document is Duke Power’s annual report to both the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina describing their long-range plans. In 2014’s report, you will find that Duke Power mentioned nothing about the creation of any new transmission lines.
There are presently no plans for construction of any 161 kV and above transmission lines.
The lines that have been proposed as part of Duke’s Western Carolinas Modernization Plans are 230 kV. Why is there such a discrepancy in Duke’s current plans and their most recent IRP, which supposedly detailed their future plans for the coming years?
For more information about Duke’s IRP, please click here to read Duke Power’s Integrated Resource Plan for 2014.
Duke Power held another informational meeting at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock this week, and many local citizens voiced their opposition to Duke’s Western Carolinas Modernization Project. While many local residents flocked to the event to voice their concerns and hear from Duke Power directly, Duke Power’s representatives did not actually take questions from the audience.
At one point during the meeting, Travis Rockey, a Flat Rock resident, silenced the crowd with sharp whistles to announce that Gail Simpson, a Duke representative, was in charge and would be taking questions from the audience. That turned out not to be true.
The meeting consisted of different stations that residents could visit to view maps and other information and speak with Duke representatives. The maps showed many possible routes, broken into 44 sections that could be connected to complete the line.
Rockey said the meeting was a “disaster” because Duke “separated everybody like sheep and they don’t have any answers. What they’re doing is just feeding people little bits of information.”
“This whole meeting was a setup and Duke must have paid their PR firm a hell of a lot of money to be able to set this kind of meeting up,” he added. “They divided everybody and they’re trying to conquer them.”
Clearly, the people of Western North Carolina and South Carolina want answers to their very valid questions. Duke Power simply is not providing these answers at the moment.
Read more here at Blue Ridge Now to get more details from this meeting, and be sure to also check out an editorial on how Duke Power’s public process is only serving to rile up citizens, instead of assuage their concerns.
Some of the great organizers in western North Carolina and the foothills of South Carolina have created this terrific Change.org petition to gather support to stop Duke Power’s new transmission line project in our area. This is a great way to make your voice heard and show that you want Duke Power to put a halt to their Western Carolinas Modernization Project.
Signing this petition will show that you want more answers, more justification, and more clarification for this project. It also shows that you do not want miles and miles of destructive and invasive transmission lines devastating our beloved mountains and foothills, cratering property values, harming local businesses, and staining our pristine and beloved environment.