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.