ASHEVILLE – Duke Energy announced it’s controversial plan to build a 45-mile transmission line from the Upstate to western North Carolina has been dropped in favor of building two smaller gas units in Asheville.
The company announced Wednesday it will replace it’s coal plant in Asheville with two smaller gas units rather than building one large one. Duke Energy says that would means the proposed transmission lines – from the Campobello area to Asheville – are no longer needed.
Duke Energy officials held a series of public meetings throughout the area to hear concerns from people about building such a transmission line. The impact on the natural scenery was one of the major concerns expressed.
“We have been committed to developing a plan to maintain the region’s power reliability with the least possible impact on communities, property owners and the environment from the start of this effort, and we believe our revised plans accomplish those goals,” said Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy’s executive vice president for market solutions and president of the Carolinas region in a prepared statement.
Yates says the company received more than 9,000 comments about the proposed transmission lines and the overall proposal.
“The new plan balances the concerns raised by the community and the very real need for more electricity to serve this growing region,” said Yates.
Duke Energy says it’s coal units are still scheduled to be retired at the Asheville Power Plant by 2020. Two natural gas units will be built at the site. A third unit could be built at that site in 2023.
North Carolina House District 117 Representative Chuck McGrady said in a statement, “I’m gratified that Duke Energy has responded to the overwhelming sentiment expressed in the over 9,000 comments it received by not proceeding with the proposed new transmission lines in Henderson County.” The Republican lawmaker added, “Duke Energy is to be commended on listening to its customers and my constituents.”
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