Twelve years: That’s how long humanity has left to hold global warming below the key level of 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to an October report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In light of that sobering reality, these developments from 2018 had the biggest potential impact on Asheville’s contribution to climate change.
The Energy Innovation Task Force, a joint effort of the city of Asheville, Buncombe County and Duke Energy Progress, along with community stakeholders, was created to find ways to slow the growth of energy demand in Western North Carolina. Two years in, how is that going?
2018’s annual joint meeting of Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners highlighted issues of racial equity, police use-of-force and zoning conflicts affecting Buncombe residents.
Sweeping changes to Asheville’s zoning code could make it much harder for property owners to rent out whole units for periods of less than a month. City Council will vote on the restrictions on short-term vacation rentals at its Jan. 9 meeting.
City Council will shine a spotlight on the River Arts District at its Oct. 24 meeting, with agenda items including a proposed 70-room lodging reuse, parking problems and adoption of a zoning code intended to encourage vibrant mixed use in the area.
“It has been suggested that Duke license and implement the eScore program, which was highly successful for the Tennessee Valley Authority. EScore is attractive to both homeowners and participating contractors for its ease of use and effectiveness.”
Duke Energy’s plan to bring smart meters to the mountains could put two key concerns — energy conservation and human health — into a head-on collision, critics say.
Signs of spring: the city considers its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and citizens amass their forces to resume the fight over the fate of city-owned land on Haywood Street and Page Avenue. Asheville City Council will meet on Tuesday, March 28 to consider these and other matters. The budget meeting will take place at 3 p.m. in Council Chambers, with the formal meeting commencing at 5 p.m.
Using data provided by Duke Energy, a local task force has shown that much of the growth in WNC’s peak electrical demand is driven by the conversion of existing oil- and propane-fired heating systems to electric heat pumps. Slowing the growth in peak demand is the mission of the task force, which hopes to delay or eliminate the need for one of three new power plants proposed for Duke Energy’s Lake Julian station.
Natural gas will dethrone coal as the fossil fuel generating most of WNC’s electricity when Duke Energy’s new Lake Julian plant goes online in 2020. But how does natural gas get to this area, and where does it come from? Though tracing the gas molecules to their source is tricky, Xpress found that much of the area’s gas supply comes from hydraulic fracturing, and new pipeline projects are in the works to bring more fracked gas into the region.
The second meeting of the Buncombe County Energy Innovation Task Force focused on setting up working groups that will focus on four key areas: community programs, technical solutions, community engagement and communication and peak demand reduction.
The new Energy Innovation Task Force — which brings together representatives from electric utility Duke Energy, elected officials, the private sector, nonprofits and alternative energy providers — held its first meeting on May 13. In addition to the task force members, a sizable group of citizens and energy advocates also turned out for the public kickoff of the one-of-a-kind initiative, which aims to slow the growth of local energy demand and avoid the construction of a third natural gas generator.