- Duke Energy will delay for three years a proposed gas-fired peaker plant that would be built at the site of the Lake Julian coal-powered facility in North Carolina. The development has been pushed back from 2023 to 2027.
- According to the Citizen-Times, the change is largely the result of lobbying by the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, N.C., and other groups, as part of an Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF) that pressed Duke for more clean energy resources.
- More than a year ago there were signs the plant could face issues: Staff at the North Carolina Utilities Commission concluded the plant might not be necessary when completed, given advances in energy technology.
It is a partial win for clean energy and environmental advocates — Duke isn't scrapping the project but instead will delay it for three years. But that will allow time for other resources to be examined, something local stakeholders have advocated.
“It’s great news that they’re postponing this project, but the better course is not to build this plant at all," Kelly Martin, EITF task force member and associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said in a statement.
The task force also included local businesses, nonprofits and environmental groups, including Sierra Club. Members "recommend ways to reduce peak load in the region through demand response, energy efficiency and clean energy solutions," the group explained.
Martin also pointed to North Carolinas large solar potential, and pressed Duke for more energy efficiency programs.
When considering the project last year, staff wrote its report that rejecting the plan would allow for "advances in generation, transmission, and storage technologies" to fill any potential power needs in the next eight years.
A pair of combined-cycled units being developed at the same site is still on track, according to the Citizen-Times. Those two units are planned to begin generating 560 MW in about two years.