Duke Energy Postpones Plans for New Fracked Gas Plant in Buncombe County

The plan to build a new fracked gas plant at the Asheville coal plant site at Lake Julian has been postponed by at least four years, according to a Duke Energy Progress filing today with state regulators.Duke’s plan to build a “peaker” gas plant that would be used during times of high demand has been pushed back from 2023 to 2027. Duke says the postponement is due to the company’s updated resource planning, as well as to the community’s push for more clean energy resources.

Duke specifically cited the the efforts of Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF), a group whose members represent Asheville City and Buncombe County Government, local businesses, nonprofits and environmental groups, including Sierra Club. Task force members recommend ways to reduce peak load in the region through demand response, energy efficiency and clean energy solutions.

In response to Duke’s filing, Kelly Martin, EITF task force member and associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, released the following statement:

“It’s great news that they’re postponing this project, but the better course is not to build this plant at all. Fracked gas has no place in a clean energy future.

“North Carolina ranks second in the nation for solar potential, trailing only California, and we should take full advantage of that resource. Duke should go all in on energy efficiency programs that would lower both demand and customers’ bills, and commit to replacing dirty, dangerous fossil fuels with 100 percent clean energy that protects our air, water and communities.”

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