North Carolina approves Duke's renewable microgrid project in the Smoky Mountains
The North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved Duke Energy’s Mount Sterling renewable energy microgrid project in the Great Smoky Mountains of Haywood County.
The project comprises a 10 kW solar installation with a Fluidic 95 kWh zinc-air battery that will power a remote communications tower in the national park that is currently served by an overhead transmission line.
- Duke says it will begin project construction this summer and when the project is complete it plans to return 13 acres of park land currently maintained as a utility corridor to a natural state.
What happens if you hold a public hearing and no one shows up? Your project goes forward.
Those were the unusual circumstances of Duke Energy petition to the NCUC for its Mount Sterling renewable energy microgrid.
In its approval order the NCUC said no protests had been filed in opposition to the microgrid project and Duke had reported receiving positive feedback. So the commission canceled the planned public hearing.
The microgrid project will replace Duke’s existing four-mile 12.47-kV distribution feeder that is due for upgrades this year. The line crosses mountainous terrain and is difficult to access, and restoring service to the line after an outage is time consuming and costly.
Duke says the microgrid project, which would cost less than $1 million, is a less costly alternative to upgrading and maintaining the overhead line.
- Microgrid Knowledge What, No Opposition? The Latest on Duke’s Unusual Mount Sterling Microgrid
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