Duke Energy wants your money to pollute you

Charlotte Observer | 06/06/2007 | Green groups lose effort to block Duke plant


How’s that for a bumper sticker?

The N.C. Utilities Commission upheld its March decision to allow Duke to build one 800-megawatt unit. The commission in March had rejected Duke’s request to build two units. Environmentalists subsequently asked the regulators to reconsider their decision allowing one unit.

The commission’s ruling shifts the battle over Duke’s proposed Cliffside project to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the agency that is considering an air quality permit for the proposed power plant. When the draft permit is issued later this year, the organizations will likely contend that the Cliffside project is not using the cleanest technology available and is falling short of federal air quality standards.

“We’re using all available legal tools to stop a dirty power plant from being built,” said Michael Shore, a senior air policy analyst at N.C. Environmental Defense. “Everything is an attempt to delay and hopefully prevent construction.”

In their appeal to the utilities commission, the environmentalists contended that the Cliffside project is not the most economical choice, but rather the “worst-cost” option. Last year, the capital cost of two Cliffside units was estimated at $2 billion, but this year Duke revised the costs, saying that building one unit would cost $1.8 billion.

The cost of building, financing, maintaining and operating power plants is paid by utility customers through electric rates.

Note that this project at the enormous cost of 2 billion dollars is funded entirely by increases in NC utility bills. So, not only are they shafting us thoroughly, they’re using our money to do it, the temerity. I am pissed off, and I have no choice to buy power from anyone other than the morons at Duke Energy where I live. it’s Duke, or candlelight for me!

The battle shifts to the NC-DENR, which will need to issue an air quality permit. It’s time for all groups involved to delay this project until NC comes up with a viable climate change mitigation policy that wil make plants like these completely unviable. It’s a good thing that this is the exact strategy they’re going for! Maybe our legislators and regulators should take the time to read their local paper.

On some days, stretches of Nags Head have no dry beach, and visitors have to sit under the front-row houses at high tide. The resort that once thrived by the sea is being swallowed by it.

“We are losing the town,” Cahoon said. “As sea level rises, our tax base goes away.”

Other, more subtle changes are under way along the coast, not just on the fragile barrier islands. As salt water pushes farther upriver, some rivers are widening into estuaries, tidal bodies of water where fresh and salt water mix. Freshwater swamps are changing to salt marsh.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks BilB. I’m sure that some configuration along these lines would sgnnificaitly reduce Australia’s carbon footprint. It is about time it was implemented, as the technology is already available. Rudd could then really claim to have achieved a measurable difference, not just symbolism.The old coal-fired power stations have a thermal efficiency of about 40% I believe, and CCGT has efficiencies up to 75%, to say nothing of reduced particulates and reduced NOx and SOx from burning natural gas. This would give a MASSIVE reduction in emissions already. Then if say, conservatively 6 hours/day was met by solar (& perhaps wind), rather than carbon-based energy, you would have a further significant reduction of total emissions.I can imagine a range of reasons the Rudd government is handing $billions of our tax money to the coal companies, rather than walking his talk about the environment.The first and most obvious is that almost all pollies are technologically-challenged. They could easily have the wool pulled over their eyes with bull about clean coal and geosequestration/CCT.Another related reason is that big money and multinationals are behind coal and nuclear. These types of power-stations are essentially large monopoly systems. By contrast, gas turbines and solar arrays are modularisable, decentralisable, and less amenable to milking for monopoly rents (ask Trujillo how that works ). Obviously these guys (coal and nuclear) are going to argue VIGOROUSLY for their power system, and AGAINST anything which competes. They have the money to buy bright technical people, to argue their cause. The technologically-challenged ones would have no show against a barrage of forceful arguments.Another possible reason, I reckon, is politics and conmanship. For example, imagine that Bush wanted to claim that they were leading the world in gun control . Yeah, I know it’s a stretch, but it’s just a thought experiment. Now, say the US is the biggest manufacturer and exporter of guns. So, he marches off to the equivalent of Kyoto/Copenhagen to argue that they are a world leader in gun control. He would look like a hypocrite, right? Everyone would say he wasn’t leading any damn thing at all he was actually increasing the number of guns, by being a major supplier.So, what to do? Bush could claim that the US is working on a special, safe, non-killing kind of gun for the future. And back it up with an impressive pile of money MUCH less than they would make from selling the guns, of course but nonetheless a suitably impressive pile, and a new research institution to match. Then Bush could do a Madoff or FirePower style of confidence trick, where you get people to imagine that such a possibility (special, safe, non-killing guns) exists, and get them to buy into it heavily. Having invested, they are then psychologically hooked into his fantasy. Would people fall for it? Did they fall for Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and FirePower’s bull story about engine pills? Sheesh How does this relate to Rudd? Well, he wants to get global recognition for being a leader in climate change. Australia is THE biggest user of coal-fired power, and THE biggest exporter of coal. Oh, bugger. Now starts the conmanship How long does he think he can get away with it, before he gets found out? How long did Madoff think he could get away with pulling the wool over people’s eyes? As long as Rudd and the coal companies all sing from the same songsheet, and as long as they can get others to buy in, thus psychologically committing We could hope that Rudd is only technologically-challenged, but I do strongly speculate he may be playing the conman also.

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