POWER PLAYERS: Recent travel companions Brownie Newman (l), Buncombe County Board of Commissioners; Julie Mayfield, Asheville City Council; and Jason Walls (r), Duke Energy represent the three convenors of the Energy Innovation Task Force. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Energy task force holds first meeting

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.

State Utilities Commissioners James Patterson (l) and Bryan Beatty question Duke Energy counsel Bo Somers during state Utilities Commission hearings Monday. Kirk Ross/Carolina Public Press

Duke Energy threatens to stick with coal at Asheville plant if commission rejects plans

After a Monday, Feb. 22 hearing disrupted several times by protests, the chair of the state Utilities Commission said he expects to meet a legislative deadline for a decision on Duke Energy-Progress’ conversion of its Asheville facility. Duke warned that it may not phase out its coal-fired units at the site if its petition is denied.

Leadership Asheville hosted a capacity crowd at its panel discussion on WNC's future energy needs on Feb. 3.

Reducing peak energy demand key to size of future Duke plant

Peak energy demand will determine the capacity of Duke Energy’s planned upgrades at the company’s Lake Julian power plant, according to speakers at a panel discussion on WNC’s future energy needs on Feb. 3. Speakers stressed the importance of partnerships between Duke Energy, local government and community partners to reduce demand and delay or eliminate a third new natural gas-fired generation unit planned for the Lake Julian site.