Press Release | March 8, 2019

Energy’s plan to keep uneconomic coal plants online will burden North Carolina’s customers

Clean energy advocates filed with state utility regulators

RALEIGH, N.C. — A coalition of clean energy advocates have filed expert analyses with North Carolina utility regulators finding that the Duke Energy’s long-range plans would cost customers too much money by keeping aging, inefficient coal plants online, building new power plants that are not needed to meet electricity demand, and by failing to tap the full potential of abundant, low-cost, clean energy resources like solar and energy efficiency.

On behalf of Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the expert reports with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on the Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress “integrated resource plans,” which show how the utilities' plan to meet customer demand for electricity over the next 15 years.

The groups asked the commission to hold a trial-type hearing on the plans, as allowed under state law, to allow for thorough vetting of the multi-billion-dollar investments included in the plans.

“We’re asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission to take a hard look at Duke Energy’s long-range plans. Reviews by industry experts show that Duke’s internal analysis favors polluting, costly coal and gas plants while giving short shrift to cleaner, cheaper options like energy efficiency, solar and wind,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the groups before the commission.

“Our analysis clearly shows that many of Dukes’ coal plants are uneconomic right now and this problem only gets worse in the future,” said Dave Rogers, representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in North Carolina. “Duke should take full advantage of the region’s clean energy potential instead of clinging to coal for three more decades, making families and businesses pay more, causing further climate disruption, and putting our communities at risk.”

John Wilson, research director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, added, “Our analysis proves that Duke Energy's plan was preordained to cap solar energy. It's as if a driver used an old map instead of an app, and then got stuck in construction. Duke should be using all the tools and resources available to move beyond the status quo.”

Amanda Levin, policy analyst in the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “Duke’s proposed plan would lock in a dirty, fossil-fueled energy future for the state. Our comments show that there is a cleaner and cheaper path for North Carolina’s energy future.”

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