NC WARN: Utilities' nuke plant plans will explode electric bills | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NC WARN: Utilities' nuke plant plans will explode electric bills

Posted by on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 2:49 PM

A new report from NC WARN, co-authored by Duke University economist John Blackburn and environmental attorney John Runkle, says Duke Energy and Progress Energy would save electric ratepayers a bundle by getting serious about energy-efficiency programs and renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass and cogeneration) while cancelling four nuclear reactors they have on the drawing boards.

Duke Energy should also cancel its planned Cliffside project near Charlotte, a coal-fired plant, the report says.

Altogether, the four nukes and Cliffside will cost at least $35 billion and probably a a lot more than that, the two authors said today. Supplying the same amount of energy via proven conservation methods and renewable sources would cost far less, they said.

Currently, residential electric customers in North Carolina pay an average of about $100 a month. If the five planned plants are built, that average could jump to between $150-$200 over the next 10-15 years, the two said.

Progress Energy is seeking licenses to add two reactors to the one now operating at the Shearon Harris facility in Wake County. Duke Energy's two planned reactors would be at a Gafney, SC facility about an hour south of Charlotte.

If the utilites dump the five plants and put energy-efficiency programs in place instead that cut electricity consumption by just 1 percent a year over the next 15 years while also pushing the percentage of electric generation derived from renewable sources from the current 4 percent to 10 percent, the authors said, electric bills might actually go down, not up.

"Rates will go up, but people pay bills, not rates," Blackburn remarked.

Blackburn, an emeritus Duke professor, is former chair of the economics department at Duke and a specialist in energy-generation issues.

Update: Mike Hughes, a spokesman for Progress Energy, said the utility has figured a "significant" decrease in electricity usage from energy-efficiency measures into its load forecasts/ But Hughes added that PE must cope with the reality that the Raleigh-Cary area is the fastest growing metro in the country and 10 other North Carolina counties are among the nation's top 100 fastest-growing.

"We are moving forward on efficiency and renewable as part of a balanced energy strategy. But we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket and hope that customers make dramatic lifestyle changes in a few short years, or that renewable energy sources become more reliable or competitive," Hughes said. "We have a responsibility to plan many years in advance for the resources that will be needed to ensure that the lights come on 10 years from now. If the facts change in the coming years, our resource plan will reflect the changes."

Pin It

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

I should also add that it was professor Daniel Sherman who penned the letter that we all signed after some …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

The anthropology department had posted a similarly strong letter previous to ours. The progressive faculty network also signed a similar …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

Most Recent Comments

I should also add that it was professor Daniel Sherman who penned the letter that we all signed after some …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

The anthropology department had posted a similarly strong letter previous to ours. The progressive faculty network also signed a similar …

by elin o'Hara slavick on UNC Faculty Members Call for the Removal of Silent Sam (News)

I take anything I read in the INDY with a grain of salt, especially regarding alleged views on the police …

by MJKopechne on Durham Candidates Talk Gentrification, Policing, and Civil Rights at People's Forum (News)

Great idea! Especially involving young people. What has been done since? …

by Martha C. Brock on Parks Guru: Ideas for Dix Should Arise on Site, Not Be Manufactured in Traditional Political Settings (News)

Let's be clear on the law here. The only out of state ID that is allowed for purchasing alcohol is …

by Durham451 on Anti-Racism Activists Accuse Durham Bar of Being Racist (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation