* We Made History!

Wow! What a night!! Over 200 people came to the Mecklenburg Courthouse and 92 signed up to speak. The hearing adjourned at 1:25 AM! The quality of the testimony was passionate, moving, and gave very convincing and detailed arguments. Numerous children spoke at the hearing including one fourth grader who presented her school science project about the arsenic in Mountain Island Lake from the Riverbend coal ash ponds. It was wonderful.

What was equally wonderful was the teamwork and cooperation of the many coalition organizations. Extra special recognition and thanks to Monica Embrey of Greenpeace and the great team of highly motivated volunteers – they made remarkable things happen. Laura Sorensen and the SAFE Carolinas team (and many others from Asheville) were powerful with their signs and with their testimony. And special thanks to the Charlotte team of organizations, faith leaders, and other that spoke and helped with turn out. You are all special people. And to the many children who came to the hearing, stayed late, and spoke, you inspired me and all that were in the courtroom.

Missed the public hearing? So what can you do? You can have your voice on the Future of Energy in NC heard!

Submit your personal written comments opposing the Duke Progress Integrated Resource Plan and calling for the NC Utilities Commission to reject the proposed IRPs! Comments can be directed to statements@ncuc.net with “Docket # E-100 Sub 137″ referenced in the subject line. For snail mail, send your comments to the  North Carolina Utilities Commission, 4325 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC  27699-4325. Don’t delay, do it today!

Here’s the initial media coverage.

Speakers want more green energy from Duke

Bruce Henderson

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

Protesters gather outside the Mecklenburg County Courthouse Thursday, February 28, 2013. About 100 green-energy advocates came to demonstrate before a hearing on Duke Energy’s future power plants. TODD SUMLIN – tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

More Information

Speakers from an overflow crowd lined up Thursday night to blast Duke Energy for relying on coal and nuclear power while investing comparatively little in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The N.C. Utilities Commission scheduled the Charlotte hearing on the 20-year growth plans filed every other year by Duke Energy Carolinas, which serves Charlotte, and other North Carolina utilities. The plans project future demand for electricity and how the utilities will meet it.

Duke Carolinas’ most recent plan comes as the utility is transitioning away from coal toward cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. The plan forecasts a 45 percent drop in coal use by 2032 and an 86 percent increase in natural gas.

Nuclear generation stays about the same, supplying half of the utility’s energy production. But while renewable energy such as solar and wind grows fast, it still reaches only 3 percent of Duke’s power generation in 20 years.

That’s not good enough for those who believe climate change – coal is a major producer of greenhouse gases — is near a turning point and who blame water and air pollution on power plants they say are obsolete.

“We need a radical plan right now to abandon fossil fuels, but Duke’s plan falls far short,” Sally Kneidel, a Charlotte biologist, told the commission. “Catastrophic climate change is upon us. Duke Energy is one entity that could do something about it. And you are too.”

Charlotte resident Harry Taylor said, “Duke Energy is rewarded for building (power plants) whether or not there’s need, and without risk. The (plan) suggests that even though they know better, they’re going to keep doing the same thing for the next 20 years.”

Anna Behnke, 12, toted to the podium her science project. She said it found arsenic in water near her home close to the Riverbend power plant west of Charlotte. “Duke could set an example,” she said, “and you could make them do it.”

Duke Carolinas points out that it is changing. The utility is retiring 38 old coal and oil-fueled power plant units, and has or will soon open one new coal-fired plant and two gas-fired plants that will operate far more cleanly.

“The challenge of our job is to balance those concerns with the costs to our customers,” said Jeff Brooks, a Duke spokesman.

Bill Gupton, outreach director for Consumers Against Rate Hikes, said Duke could do far more with energy efficiency, paring its emissions while saving consumers money. The 14-group coalition is fighting a 9.7 percent rate hike Duke Carolinas is seeking.

“We could avoid building several new power plants, keeping our rates below others in the region” with efficiency, he said.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/02/28/3883775/green-energy-advocates-target.html

Protesters call on Duke to switch to renewable energy

WCNC TV – Video

Crowds protest at public hearing on Duke Energy’s future plans

IRP Hearing Rally Press Conf
Crowds protest at public hearing on Duke Energy’s future plans


Disclaimer: My full time work includes work on this issue.

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