Communities rally, urge Duke to reconsider power plans
As Duke Energy prepares to roll out massive construction projects along the western border between North Carolina and South Carolina, residents in both states are questioning the project’s justifications and scope. Chief among the concerns raised are the damaging impacts on the area’s natural, scenic, and economic resources as well as the fact that Duke Energy has shown no compelling need for the work.
The project centers on the planned transition of Duke’s Asheville Power Plant from a 376MW coal-fired plant to a 650MW natural gas-fueled plant. With the transition, Duke intends to double the plant’s generation capacity and build out 40 miles of transmission lines between the power plant in North Carolina and a substation in South Carolina. Towers along the route would be almost 190 feet tall and require a cleared right-of-way, maintained with herbicides, 200 feet wide.
While the exact route for the towers is still unclear, the possibilities have been presented (see the map below) and residents aren’t liking what they see. Thousands have turned out at public hearings over the summer and several North Carolina and South Carolina communities—including Mills River, Hendersonville, and Greenville, Henderson, Polk, and Spartanburg counties—have passed resolutions opposing the project.
“All of us who live in the Upstate know that the Blue Ridge mountains and the hills of the Piedmont define our home,” said SELC Senior Attorney Frank Holleman. “Duke’s proposal is a blow to our quality of life.”
SELC represents South Carolina’s Upstate Forever in its efforts to stop construction of the transmission lines and substation as they push for clean, renewable energy solutions to power the region’s future.