Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cliffside's war of words

A war of words rang out Monday at uptown's Stonewall and Church streets, where demonstrators gathered at Duke Energy's headquarters. The crowd of more than 250 protested the environmental impacts of Duke's coal use and expansion of its Cliffside power plant west of Charlotte.

Read below for Duke's defense of Cliffside, and here for a letter sent to Duke CEO Jim Rogers last week by some of the groups taking part in Monday's protest.

· Cliffside is a bridge plant to a lower carbon future. We will make the new unit at Cliffside carbon neutral by retiring 1,000 megawatts of higher-emitting plants in North Carolina. Once we bring the new Cliffside Unit 6 on line in 2012, it will be the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the nation.

· On March 13, 2009, Duke Energy received a revised air permit for the new unit from the N.C. Division of Air Quality (DAQ), which designates that the unit is a minor source of hazardous air pollutants, rather than a major emitter. This designation by the DAQ confirms the new Cliffside Unit 6 will have among the strictest, most effective air emission controls available to protect public health and the environment. Here is a link to the DAQ’s press release.

· Duke Energy has a comprehensive plan to meet energy needs by using a diverse fuel mix. Currently, we use coal, nuclear, hydro, natural gas and energy efficiency to provide affordable, reliable power to customers as cleanly as possible. We are building two cleaner coal plants, one in North Carolina and one in Indiana, that will allow us to retire older, higher-emitting units once the new units come on line. We plan to build two new natural gas plants in North Carolina and are keeping the option open to build a new nuclear plant in South Carolina.

· Additionally, we are pursuing an enhanced energy efficiency program – save-a-watt- that incents us to aggressively save energy; working in North Carolina on a plan to create mini-power plants by installing solar panels on rooftops, and signed a 20-year agreement to buy the full output of a new solar farm in Davidson County, N.C.

· At the same time, we are developing wind energy in areas of the United States where abundant supplies of wind are available. In fact, we are co-owner of one of the largest wind farms in Texas. This spring, we will have more than 500 megawatts of wind power in operation and another 5,000 megawatts in development in 14 U.S. states.

· Coal and nuclear power provide baseload energy needs for customers. To suggest that Duke Energy is not pursuing renewables or that renewables can provide baseload needs is simply inaccurate. Bruce Henderson


Anonymous said...

Envirofascists, know this: If you want the light to turn on when you hit the switch, you need power plants. OK? Now go do something productive like having unprotected sex with Perez Hilton.

Anonymous said...

April 21, 2009 3:55 PM - I don't know why you have to attack people that are trying to ensure that sound environmental standards are met. See a profession, you have a problem.

As for cliffside, I believe many residents are concerned about the impact of a coal power plant on air quality so close to a major population center in the state. Naturally, Duke will resist changing their plans and claim that it will be 'the cleanest' coal power plant in the nation but that is little consolation to the parents of children who are exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants in the air and water close to the power plant. Duke Power may want to reconsider thier plan and stop trying to sell the public on 'clean coal technology' which is, infact, utter nonsense. Coal power plants are anything but clean.

Let's Get Going! said...

Paper Trail

Could you let us know how to find you when you are not on the main page?

You are not listed in the blog listings and when you search nothing comes up.

Anonymous said...

By claiming 'clean coal' is utter nonsense you reveal yourself as completely ignorant. This 'carbon dioxide' hysteria is preposterous. There is absolutely ZERO conclusive science that CO2 is a problem. ZERO, NONE, NADDA. The plant will not produce 'unsafe levels of pollutants in the air and water', that's a fact. By limiting production of coal plants you are guaranteeing increased energy costs, loss of GDP and slow growth. By encouraging this fullishness of limiting CO2, 0bama is directly hurting our economy. Solar and wind are pipe dreams. Do a little research, educate yourself. Texas has 1000's of acres dedicated to wind farms and is still only able to produce 1% of their energy needs and this energy is so unreliable you have to account for a 90% loss! Nuclear power is the only true alternative.

April Bethea said...

Hi, this is April Bethea, Mecklenburg County government reporter for the Observer.

We're hoping to update the blog regularly during the week, so be sure to check for a link at www.charlotteobserver.com.

But you can also find us at http://obspapertrail.blogspot.com or by searching under the "politics" or "local news" pages on www.charlotteobserver.com.


April Bethea
E-mail: abethea@charlotteobserver.com

Anonymous said...

And the air is getting cleaner in NC? Answer yes it is. That's why the evironmental nazis at the EPA lowered the ozone threat levels around here because none of the old levels were going to make the grade which meant of course less govt control. Grow up libs.

Anonymous said...

There is NO DOUBT that Cliffside will be more efficient than any other coal fired plant. The air will be cleaner than previous plants.

I think this protest goes beyond clean emissions. As a former resident of the Tennessee Valley area, there is NO DOUBT that sludge spills are still dangerous and likely. (See December 2009). There is more to the coal problem than emissions. Sure the drive up I-77 in West Virginia looks nice, but they don't remove the mountains you can see in our backyard. And no one in Charlotte is downstream from a slude storage dam. The mining process can never be clean.

Anonymous said...

to compliment my item above at 5:32 I know that when I hit my lightswitch coal power allowed that to happen. On top of the three times in this blog, I've heard it hundreds of times. I know this. I know we need coal power. But don't tell me its clean because we live in glitzy Charlotte w/o mining in our backyard.

Deb said...

It's pretty simple - coal is not clean - yet. But to continue to build something that will pollute our air further instead of phasing in solar, wind, wave, geothermal and green efficiencies to reduce our energy dependence on fossil fuels by 50% makes no sense.

Global warming aside, my husband has a lung missing and is impacted by "bad air days" in Charlotte. We were both forced to move away from coal plants in northern Florida because we were loaded with mercury and lead and had trouble breathing. Neighbors were on puffers and oxygen. He got rushed to the ER where the doc asked him, "What are you doing in the Asthma Capital?" Cliffside is unnecessary except to further damage our lungs, our health and that of our children and grandchildren.

Yes, we like electricity. See www.ieer.org, carbon-free and nuclear-free, A Roadmap for US Energy Policy. It shows how current solar technology since 2002powers a US Naval Base and a large manufacturing business. The existing parking lots (not a tree to remove) were covered with solar photovoltaic panels, employees park underneath out of the weather, it powers the building and eventually plug-in hybrid vehicles. Win-win. It can be off or on the grid to produce or take power as needed. I want that existing, cost-effective solar technology on my shopping mall!

Dow has come out with solar roof shingles. I attended a workshop to convert my existing hot water heater for under $600 and take my refrigerator off the grid with one small solar panel and a couple of golf cart batteries! Simple, clean, no further fuel costs! Think of what could be done if the mega power companies weren't so busy trying to hold onto every ounce of power generation at some centralized location, and paid for by our money....in ADVANCE! What for-profit corporation wouldn't love a scam like this.

Cliffside is an expensive waste of time, money, natural resources like air and water, a bridge to nowhere, According to NASA's chief scientist, Dr. James Hansen, "any new coal plants that don't capture CO2 will have to be bulldozed". Meanwhile, Duke and Progress and other large power giants are being pre-paid construction and insurance costs by NC legislators and refuse to let go of OUR money. Wall Street won't touch coal or nuclear. Waste causes huge coal spills or radioactive releases no one knows how to control or clean up. Coal and nukes evaporate millions of gallons of water per day per reactor while we are told not to water our lawns or flush the toilet!!

Whoever defends coal or nuclear probably has a vested interest, like a job they are afraid of losing. The good news - renewables generate 6 to 7 times the jobs of these old technologies dressed up in fictitious promises of "clean".

Lots of web sites for facts and figures like NIRS.org, NCWARN.org, BeyondNuclear.org,TheDirtyLie.org,
AppVoices.org Citizen.org, CanaryCoalition.org, PSR.org,FOE.org,StopCliffside.org, Waterkeepers.org, shall I go on?

Join those of us who like to live and breathe. Just say "no" to Cliffside. Love, Deb

Anonymous said...

"How you treat Creation is a sure sign of what you think of the Creator."

Then why do so many so-called Christians hate God?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that some people believe a small percentage of scientist who don't beleive in man caused global warming.

It's also a shame that people buy in to the pipe dreams that groups like NIRS, NCWARN, BeyondNuclear, etc. are selling.

But it reassuring that we have a President that understands that human caused global warming does exits and that conservation and renewable energy cannot solve this problem by themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlotte Observer people, it is not a war of words if all you do is print Duke Energy's words. Where can I find the words from the other side? Why are you providing Duke Energy with a forum for their views but not providing an equal, fair and balanced opportunity to those who hold the opposite viewpoint? Please answer.

Anonymous said...

These protesters know nothing about the Cliffside project... otherwise they wouldn't be demonstrating.

Anonymous said...

Why would any business planning a profitable future invest billions in an obsolete, finite resource? Duke Energy's hopeful sounding statement that its new coal plant will be a cleaner technology than its old plants is kinda sweet but hardly compelling. That's like saying that putting a filter on a cigarette is better than smoking a hand rolled cigarette. The underlying harm remains.

ralph jannelli said...

coal is destructive in the extraction, "cleaning process", and in combustion. the amount of money we put into "cleaning" coal and cleaning up the b#!!s^!t that gets spilled will be much better spent it the development of sustainable energy. the reason some have suggested that solar and wind is a "pipe dream" is because the funds needed to make it a reality is going to poisonous energy.
but let me step away from the real issue for a moment and talk about the embarrassing act of civil disobedience that took place on monday. if your convictions are strong enough to be arrested and give your hard earned money to finance county commissioner retreats you should really make a statement. i watch 44 people step across a spray painted line have a conversation with the police then just put their hand behind their back and step into a police van. this kind of over politeness is inherently typical of charlotte and is so disappointing. it was a huge joke and allows others to not take the movement seriously. next time you want to make a statement and make an impact lock arms and refuse to leave. if you don't make real demands on duke energy and the others of the corporate/financial hegemony they will let you make all the noise in the street you want and just continue biz as usual.

barkomomma said...

quote anon @ 4:46

"Why would any business planning a profitable future invest billions in an obsolete, finite resource?"

Hmmm, let's ask Exxon... or maybe BO's administration who seem to think that tax dollars are a bottomless well...or even our choo-choo happy/screw the teachers local GovCo...

Mary said...

The way to stop polluting and global warming is to consume less.

Anonymous said...

1. Coal pulverization is filthy. Gasification is cleaner. Therefore, this permit is illegal because Duke is not using the BACT (Best Available Control Technology)

2. The DAQ should be investigated for allowing this plant to be reclassified as a "minor" source of pollution. Duke has admitted it will release over 200 tons of toxic air pollution annually. Foul Play!!

3. DAQ violated rules at the public hearings

4. 700+ lbs of mercury released into our air and water every year. One gram can contaminate a pond. 13,000+ children in N.C. with developmental problems linked to mercury. Arrest Jim Rogers for assault!

5. Renewable Energy is inevitable unless humans become extinct first-leave the coal in the mountains.

6. N.C. is ranked among the 6 worst states for net metering laws (Cornell study) This is proof that Duke does not support clean tech. because they force you to install a separate meter to buy your solar at a cheaper price than they sell and you must use their technicians.

7. N.C. is borderline non-compliance with federal law for ozone and particulate matter, which is tied to federal highway funding.

8. Asthma is the #1 cause of hospitalization for children and the #1 reason for missed school days. Air pollution causes asthma. Urban kids get the dirtiest air. Duke is attempting to choke your children with your tax money.

9. Coal and Nuclear use massive amounts of water while the southeast is facing long-term drought.

10. Solar, Wind, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Biogas, Hydrogen are all viable right now but lack the funding and political support needed to defeat dirty energy. If we spent the $ we spend on importing fossil fuels and building billion dollar plants on solar, wind, and E. Efficiency, everybody wins except the profit margins of dirty energy corporations.