Building people power for
climate & energy justice

Duke University Fracked Gas Power Plant

Click to enlarge our March 2017 newspaper ad

Click to enlarge our March 2017 newspaper ad

NC WARN applauds Duke University President Richard Brodhead’s decision on April 11 to delay consideration by the Board of Trustees of the proposed fracked gas power plant that Duke Energy wants to build on campus. Read the University’s announcement here and media coverage here. The announcement came after a special subcommittee of the campus sustainability committee submitted its report on the plant proposal to the University administration.

If attempts to build the plant resume, NC WARN looks forward to regaining a constructive dialogue with the University – one that includes the Durham community’s voices as important stakeholders.


In May 2016, Duke University announced it was considering a partnership with Duke Energy to build a 21-megawatt natural gas-burning power plant on the Duke campus. As our October 2016 press statement explains, the campus would be a guinea pig for a national scheme to build fracked gas power plants with climate-wrecking emissions on campuses.

NC WARN met with Duke University officials beginning in July 2016, presenting them with information on the dangers of natural gas and discussing alternatives. In October, we sent a report titled Analysis of and Alternatives to the Proposed Duke University Natural Gas-Fired CHP Plant to Duke University President Richard Brodhead.

We followed that up in November with a letter refuting misinformation about the project, and a request in December to be included in the stakeholder process.

In January 2017, we sent a supplemental letter and technical analysis showing that the pollution control equipment proposed by Duke Energy for the plant would allow 10 times as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) to be emitted as best-in-class NOx control equipment used at other gas plants.

Duke Energy has filed for approval of the plan by the NC Utilities Commission, but the details of the contract remain to be worked out and approved by the University. NC WARN will intervene in the case at the Commission (see our Motion to Intervene).

The Commission had scheduled a public hearing and an evidentiary hearing on the plant for January 2017, but on December 1, Duke Energy asked the Commission to delay the hearings to early summer. The University requested more time after receiving significant student and public objections to the plan.

In March, four former deans of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment published an op-ed opposing the plant and NC WARN called called “flagrant foul” on Duke for its secretive decision-making process.

On April 11, the University announced it would not put the plant to a vote by its Board of Trustees in May as had been planned.

Duke Energy has plans to build such plants at other universities as well. A similar proposal at Clemson University is also encountering resistance. We will continue to urge Duke University to go clean instead of becoming the poster campus for an industry scheme to create profit centers at universities. We’re pushing for a transparent path the campus and community can be proud of. As it becomes clear that the climate crisis is being driven by methane emissions from the fracking boom, humanity badly needs Duke’s leadership.

Take Action!

  1. Email President Brodhead directly at and tell him to ditch Duke Energy’s gas scheme.
  2. If you have connections to Duke University, please contact us.

Read media coverage here
Listen to January 19 commentary on WCHL
NC WARN’s report to Duke University President Richard Brodhead
NC WARN’s letter to President Brodhead refuting misinformation about the project
NC WARN letter to President Brodhead urging inclusion of all stakeholders
NC WARN supplemental technical analysis regarding excessive NOx emissions
Duke University web page about the plant
Report by Duke Univ. Sustainability Committee subcommittee, April 7, 2017
University announcement of 4/11/17 regarding 2nd delay
Duke Energy’s request for approval to the NC Utilities Commission
NC WARN Motion to Intervene at NCUC