The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.
Duke Energy has replaced 22 power poles in the downtown Asheville area with 100-foot-tall steel structures that can carry larger electrical loads.
To meet growing power demand, Duke Energy says it will need to build three new electrical substations close to downtown over the next ten years. The city is rushing to put an ordinance establishing requirements for substation screening in place while residents are banding together to oppose substations in their neighborhoods.
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.