Wednesday, December 2, 2009

11 coal plants to close in N.C.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Did you hear? Progress Energy says they're planning to close 11 coal plants in North Carolina because they're old and too expensive to keep up. Interesting.

Did you know the oldest plant they're planning to close is 40 years younger than Duke Energy's Riverbend plant, which is a mere dozen miles from Uptown.

From David Merryman, our Catawba Riverkeeper:

The closing of these facilities will help improve North Carolina's entire quality of life, especially in regards to air and water quality.

The question for everyone here in the Charlotte region to ask is: Why isn't Duke Energy leading the way in this pro-active step to close antiquated coal-plants?

The first plant in North Carolina that should be closed down is Riverbend Steam Station on the Catawba River at Mountain Island Lake. This plant is home to two EPA-listed "high hazard potential" coal ash ponds and discharges coal ash pond overflow water into Mountain Island Lake directly upstream of the Cities of Gastonia, Mt. Holly, and Charlotte primary water intakes.

Our nation's 3rd largest utility, Duke Energy, should be in the forefront of leading the way to environmental stewardship and alternative energy solutions

Learn more about the Riverkeeper Foundation here.

But, Duke Energy says they'll be closing elderly plants like Riverbend, just as soon as their new — and improved — Cliffside plant's upgrade is finished. It will be a few dozen miles west of Charlotte.

Which leads me to this:

Four environmental protesters were arrested Monday in Greenville, S.C., after they climbed on a 1.9 million-pound generator bound for Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal plant.

The protest stared about 9 a.m., says Lt. Shea Smith of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. About 16 protesters arrived at the site near S.C. Route 25, where the truck hauling the generator has been parked for more than a week.

Six protestors climbed on the truck and generator. Police arrived about 9:15 a.m., Smith says, and told them to get off the truck or face arrest. Two people got off, he says, but four remained on the truck and two women chained themselves to a beam holding up the generator.

[Andy] Thompson says Duke feels the environmental concerns of the two groups are misplaced. Duke contends the Cliffside unit will be a cleaner and more efficient coal plant than any in Duke’s fleet. And when the expansion is complete, Duke will close 1,000 megawatts worth of older, less environmentally sound plants.

Duke concedes, though, that the total amount of carbon released in the atmosphere will be greater after the new plant is built. That is because Cliffside will operate full time, and the smaller plants it is replacing have operated intermittently.

Read the entire Charlotte Business Journal article here.

Duke Energy said the protest in a South Carolina parking lot shouldn’t slow the three-month trip to move the equipment, called a stator, from a port in the southern part of the state to a power generating plant under construction in Rutherford County.

It is part of a $1.8 billion investment by Duke Energy that should be up and running in 2012.

“We’re tired of waiting. We’re going to take serious enough action to stop construction of this global-warming, pollution-causing death machine,” Nemecz said.

Read more from The Shelby Star here.

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