Op-Ed by Jim Warren. There’s good news — outside of North Carolina — in the increasingly desperate fight to slow the climate crisis before its own momentum makes acceleration unstoppable.
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Letter to Dr. Vincent E. Price, President Duke University, and Lynn Good, President & CEO Duke Energy: Amid prodigious PR by the two Dukes since the spring about creating biogas from hog waste, there apparently has been little or no technology breakthrough in several years.
Duke Energy’s proposed “community solar” proposal would cause participating customers to lose 51 percent of their investment and would take five years to implement. The program is clearly designed to fail and is further proof that the Charlotte-based corporation prefers to stifle and delay – not advance – clean energy.
See coverage in Charlotte Business Journal
The NC Utilities Commission ordered this state’s Duke Energy Carolinas customers to pay $545 million for coal ash negligence and $347 million for the utility’s 13-year, failed effort to begin construction of twin nuclear reactors – a project now cancelled. Even more shameful is that the commission granted Duke a roughly 10 percent mark-up on the coal ash mistake by corporate execs, just as it did in the Duke Progress case earlier this year.
Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good recently promised investors they could count on “multiple rate cases” in both of the corporation’s Carolinas service areas beginning next year – to fund seemingly endless construction of fracked gas power plants and clean-up of coal ash. Separately, she promised to boost rates and profits via a $16 billion electric “grid modernization” scheme that an expert for the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) testified could, on its own, raise residential rates by up to 50 percent.
Duke Energy’s proposed side deal at the 11th hour of an already controversial rate case continues drawing opposition from consumer watchdogs, industrial customers, tech giants and environmental groups. It appears the vaguely worded deal could bring an initial rate hike of 26 percent over the first three years – while becoming a perpetual tax on customers.
Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.
Today NC WARN filed a motion calling for the NC Utilities Commission to reject a secretive, last minute settlement between Duke Energy and several organizations that would open the floodgates for huge, streamlined rate hikes with no guarantee of benefit to anyone other than corporate stockholders.
See coverage in Greensboro News & Record
The competition from solar and wind, along with abundant low-priced gas produced by fracking, is curbing orders for new plants and forcing the closure of old ones. Some utilities are even filing for bankruptcy. “That means companies are going to have trouble selling new fossil-fuel plants,” said Mark Dyson, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization that researches the power industry.