Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Greater York County, Part I

Our neighbor to the north has been making coal-related news lately. For those who haven't been following the rapid energy policy developments in North Carolina, Duke Energy's proposed 800 MW coal unit in Cliffside, NC (just over the border from Gaffney, SC) has figured prominently.

Originally, Duke Energy applied for two 800 MW coal units. A coalition of concerned citizens contended that the units were not needed, would emit tons of pollutants threatening public health and emit an unacceptable volume of greenhouse gases into a warming already warming climate system. Sound familiar?

N.C. regulators denied Duke one of the two units and conditioned the remaining unit on Duke investing 1% of its revenues in efficiency programs.

Now instead of issuing an air permit for the single 800 MW unit, NC regulators are requiring Duke to reevaluate the impact of the mercury emissions its plant would inevitably release. From the Charlotte Observer:

N.C. regulators, responding to public opposition, say they will re-evaluate how much toxic mercury a proposed Duke Energy power plant expansion may waft Charlotte's way.

Duke needs only an air permit before beginning work on a $1.8 billion addition to its Cliffside plant in Rutherford County.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality had agreed with Duke that an analysis of "best available" mercury controls wasn't needed because the plant's design meets federal standards.

Opponents said that decision could mean the plant won't be as clean as technology can make it.

The air agency, which would issue the plant's permit, said this week it will now ask Duke to conduct a more in-depth analysis.
Opponents of Santee Cooper's similar proposal here should take heart. If North Carolina can do it, certainly South Carolina can!

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