Press Release | December 7, 2017

New Information Shows Utility Profits, Not Need, is Behind $5.5 Billion Pipeline

Duke, Dominion will attempt to pin cost of Atlantic Coast Pipeline on customers

Chapel Hill, N.C. – New information from Duke Energy shows that utility customers in North Carolina do not need the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Duke’s recent Integrated Resource Plan shows there is a drastic reduction in the forecast for electricity demand in the coming years. Forecasts from the United States Energy Information Association also show that the demand for gas-fired electricity generation in our region will decrease from 2015 to 2020, and will not return to 2015 levels until approximately 2034.  In light of this information, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Sierra Club’s 21,000 members in the state, filed a motion with the North Carolina Utilities Commission urging the Commission to scrutinize the proposed amended contracts from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Piedmont Natural Gas with their affiliated company, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC for capacity on the pipeline.


“The North Carolina Utilities Commission needs to take a fresh look at these self-dealing contracts before saddling our state with this unneeded $5.5 billion pipeline,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Attorney David Neal. “The energy landscape has been changing rapidly since 2014, and it is time to reevaluate these contracts before customers are asked to pay for this pipeline.  Independent analyses shows that the pipeline is not required for meeting our electricity needs, but Duke’s shareholders nevertheless stand to make a windfall if it goes forward.”


The energy demands in North Carolina do not warrant the construction costs of building this new multi-billion dollar pipeline. It is the responsibility of the Utilities Commission to oversee the contracts in projects, like this one proposed by Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers, specifically to ensure regulatory safeguards and protect customers.  If the Commission waits until the pipeline is built to exercise its authority it will be too late. 


The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

David Neal

Senior Attorney

Gudrun Thompson

Senior Attorney and Energy Program Leader

Phone: 919-967-1450