Buncombe County’s Rep. Susan Fisher is one of several legislators seeking a delay on approval for two new coal-fired power plants west of Charlotte. The legislators are asking that the N.C. Utilities Commission hold off their decision on the Duke Power-proposed plants for three months to provide time for assessing other energy options, according to an article in yesterday’s Raleigh News & Observer, “Power Plants Face a Setback.”
The article notes that an energy consultant’s report in December concluded that 10 percent of the state’s energy needs could be met by renewable sources and efficiency programs. The legislators asking for the Duke Power delay are considering bringing forward legislation to require that 10 percent of the electricity generated by the state’s utilities come from renewable sources. It is unclear at this point how such legislation might affect the Progress Energy oil-fired plant proposal in Buncombe County.
Duke Power has maintained that renewable sources are insufficient to meet the power needs. But the N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has expressed opposition to the two-plant, 1600-megawatt proposal, which would generate 11.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Cooper has called for building only one plant, halving the megawatt generation and resultant air-pollution.
— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor