Leading from the Left

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stop Cliffside, Now!

I am strongly opposed to Duke Energy's Cliffside power plant. Here's why you should be too.

1. "The proposed Cliffside project would release 11.5 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide a year, equal to nearly 1 million automobiles." (N&0, 2/21/07)

2. If this plant is constructed, consumers will bear the entire cost. Already, cost estimates from Duke Energy have risen 50%--from $2 billion to $3 billion--and the application has yet to be approved. Every dime of these costs will be added to our electric bills, yours and mine. We'll be paying for decades to come.

3. A consultant, hired by the NC Utilities Commission, reported in November that North Carolina could get 10% of our energy through efficiency measures and renewable energy with little impact on electric bills. This would significantly reduce our need for a new coal-fired plant, and perhaps eliminate that need altogether.

4. The legislature is poised to pass a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards bill (REPS) this session. The House version of the bill sets a 20% target, far higher than the 10% the consultant indicated could meet our needs. Twenty five states already have such legislation. If North Carolina adopts REPS it will fundamentally alter the calculus that the Utilities Commission is using to determine whether or not to approve Cliffside.

Here's what you can do: contact the state Utilities Commission today and let your voice be heard. They are set to make a decision next week, so time is of the essence. Ask the Utilities Commission to either turn down the Cliffside application outright or to delay their decision while the legislature debates the REPS bill.

If you only remember one thing from this post, remember this: the green house gas pollution from Cliffside, if it's approved, will equal that from 1 million cars.