After announcing plans to retire its Asheville coal-fired generation plant in May, Duke Energy dreamed up a bodacious plan to replace it with a massive gas-fired plant, 40-miles of new 230kV line, and a new substation in Campobello, SC.
The folks in North and South Carolina organized with local environmental organizations to produce more than 9,000 public comments opposing the plan and numerous local government resolutions against it. The people spoke.
Duke says it listened.
Last month, Duke suspended its Western Carolinas Modernization Plan for the plant/transmission line in order to go back to the drawing board.
Today, the drawing was revealed. No new transmission line! No new substation! A marginally smaller, two-unit gas plant. Upgrades to existing transmission lines and substations.
Duke made a mistake packaging all this stuff together in one plan. It also packaged all its opposition together in one package by doing so. It wasn't going to fly.
So, Duke has begun the process of peeling its opposition away in layers. First to go are all those noisy, pesky, tenacious transmission line opponents. We'll see how that affects the noise level, won't we?
This leaves only opposition to the gas plant from environmental groups. Or, does it? Who's to say that Duke won't use its quiet time to construct the gas plant, then propose a new transmission line to serve it after it's completed?
The opposition says it's in it for the long haul. This isn't over.
But, for today, there's celebrating in the Carolinas!
Congratulations, Carolina Land Coalition!