In one of the strangest regulatory cases in state history, a 45-day rubber-stamp approval of a $1.1 billion gas-fired power plant in Asheville has been swamped by the subsequent 120-day battle over our right to appeal the pro-utility regulators’ ruling, a fight with no end in sight. Late yesterday NC WARN and The Climate Times filed an expert’s affidavit rebutting each point of Duke Energy’s recent call to escalate the appeal bond to $240 million.
Duke Energy Gas Expansion
Duke Energy is planning a massive increase in its burning of natural gas to produce electricity. This would be a climate disaster because of the large amounts of super-potent methane that leak unburned from gas operations, particularly fracking. Read more here and in the news items below about NC WARN’s work to block Duke’s fracking gas future.
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NC WARN asks Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to join our call for investigation of methane leakage scandal and to join us in getting methane emissions under control.
Late today the NC Court of Appeals dealt a rare blow to the state utilities commission and Duke Energy by reversing an order that would have blocked a court appeal of a controversial power plant in Asheville. The court agreed with NC WARN and The Climate Times, who argued that a $10 million bond set by the commission as a condition of appealing the plant approval was not based on evidence.
The NC Housing Coalition, The Climate Times and NC WARN have jointly filed to become parties in a merger proposed by Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas.
NC WARN and The Climate Times have filed Notice of Appeal in their efforts to expose a Duke Energy power plant proposed for Asheville as unneeded, and disastrous both for customers and for the increasingly urgent fight to slow global warming.
Today NC WARN and The Climate Times called for the NC Court of Appeals to immediately suspend regulators’ efforts to block our appeal of a Duke Energy power plant in Asheville. Last week, the NC Utilities Commissioners ordered us to post a $10 million bond before we can ask the Court of Appeals to overturn the Commission’s rubber-stamp approval of the plant.
Duke Energy is asking regulators to require a $50 million bond from NC WARN and The Climate Times if the two nonprofits appeal last month’s approval of a new gas-fired power plant in Asheville. The groups argue that the NC Utilities Commission rubber-stamped the project without considering expert witnesses who argue that the plant is not needed and would be disastrous for the climate crisis and risky for electricity customers.
Duke Energy Progress wants state regulators to require opponents to post a $50 million bond if they appeal the order approving construction of its proposed Asheville natural gas plant. Jim Warren, executive director of N.C. WARN, says the high bond is just an attempt by Duke (NYSE:DUK) to keep his group and other opponents from taking the case to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Backers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have delayed construction by almost a year, but say there will be no impact on the system’s projected inservice date or project costs, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.
The elephant in the room is Duke Energy, the nation’s largest carbon-polluting utility, based in Charlotte. Duke is driving carbon emissions higher at the worst possible time. By planning to build 15 fracking-gas power plants in the Carolinas and pipelines to supply them, Duke is crashing headlong into some cold, hard facts: Methane leakage is the nation’s leading greenhouse gas problem and fracking economics is increasingly risky.