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A Few More Days to E-mail Utilities Commission to Block Coal Plants

Posted Jun 03 2009 12:24am
Coal-burning smokestacks, courtesy of EPA

Dear Friends

Across the country, activists are pleading with the NC Utilities Commission to block construction of Duke Energy's two massive proposed coal-fired power plants. We have just a few more days to get our consumer message to the Utilities Commission before they reach a decision. The commission was created to represent the interests of the public. It's our responsibility to let them know what we want.


Duke Energy is huge. Their profits are huge, their legal staff is huge, and their environmental impact is national and global. Please email the NC Utilities Commission at the address in the box below and tell them to support energy efficiency and green power, not more climate-changing coal plants.


You don't have to be from this area to write the Utilities Commission. The 11 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from the two proposed coal plants will affect everyone's climate. Just a simple statement to register your disapproval of the coal plants is worthwhile. It doesn't have to include facts. Sentiment is valuable too. Although if you wish to include some of the facts below, have at it. The summary below of some of the salient facts was composed by environmental activist Beth Henry, a human dynamo and one of my heroes. She has been fighting 18 hours a day, for months, to educate consumers and influential people about the dangers of more and more CO2.


Register your brief objection ASAP with the NC Utilities Commission at vance@ncuc.net (re: Docket E-7, Sub 790)

The recent IPCC report said global warming is already having and will have more destructive and earlier impacts than previously thought – stronger hurricanes, longer droughts, and more. We must act urgently to reduce emissions. Cliffside would be a global-warming machine, emitting over 11 million tons of CO2 every year—the equivalent of adding about 1,730,000 cars to our roads(according to EPA formulas).



Duke hopes to have Cliffside exempted from looming federal carbon regulation, but that is a risky strategy for both our climate and our pocketbooks. If not exempted, Cliffside would add huge CO2 emissions costs to our electric bills.



Studies have shown that energy efficiency programs could substantially reduce the need for more power plants and that North Carolina could get much of its electricity at less cost, with thousands more jobs, from local, renewable sources like wind and animal waste. Even after Cliffside’s price tag jumped to almost $4 billion, Duke did not consider efficiency programs or clean energy as less expensive, less polluting options.



Numerous studies, including the Stern Review, have shown that curbing emissions now would cost much less than it will cost to repair the devastation that will be wreaked by accelerating global warming.



Cliffside is one of over 150 US coal plants being fast-tracked by utilities rushing to get plants built or at least approved before carbon regulation kicks in. Coal plants already emit about one third of US CO2 emissions. If Cliffside and other anticipated coal plants get built, the US Dept. of Energy predicts that CO2 emissions from US coal plants will increase 50% by 2030. Such a huge increase in coal emissions would threaten the health and security of us all and place the burden of reducing emissions heavily on other industries and individuals.



Denying Cliffside would not cause brownouts. Duke has not demonstrated a need for such a huge plant; in fact, Duke hopes to sell half of the project to a secret partner. Duke should turn first to efficiency, the cheapest, quickest fuel. Then, if plants are needed, Duke should build cheaper and cleaner gas-fired plants. Duke’s own models picked a gas and nuclear portfolio -- not coal -- as the “least-cost” option.



Duke’s publicity about retiring old coal plants is misleading. Duke has agreed to retire less than 200 mw of very old “peaking” plants that run about 30% of the time, but it would add 1600 mw of “baseload” plants.


Keywords: Cliffside global warming coal carbon dioxide greenhouse gases Duke Energy Beth Henry coal-fired power plants NC Utilities Commission activists energy efficiency green power

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