Duke Energy plans to build two new power plants running on fracked natural gas. Although this is touted as being better than their current coal-fired plant, it’s important to note these facts:
a) This is planned in a region with large excess capacity held both by Duke Energy and neighboring electricity suppliers.
b) There are growing financial risks of relying on natural gas, including extreme price volatility and uncertain supply.
c) Methane leakage makes natural gas-fired electricity even worse than coal for the climate crisis. Methane is 86 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
d) Equally grave is the devastation fracking brings to the air and water in the areas where it is done.
According to NC WARN, Duke Energy plans to build up to 10,928 megawatts of natural gas generation over the next 15 years in the Carolinas alone — a massive expansion which is not necessary.
As shown in Duke’s recent filing with North Carolina regulators, only 4 percent of total generation in the Carolinas would come from renewables in 2030. Duke and the Koch brothers this year persuaded the N.C. legislature to repeal the solar tax credits that had given solar energy such a boost in our state previously.
Instead, we need Duke’s support for more renewables, and they could start by emulating Florida’s example: installing a solar power station that only uses natural gas as a backup.
— Cathy Holt