NC Utilities Commission OKs Only One Generator At Duke Plant

The state Utilities Commission says Duke Energy may build only one 800-megawatt coal-fired generator at its aging Cliffside facility in western North Carolina. The utility had asked for two generators almost two years ago.

The Charlotte-based company said it needs the units to meet increasing consumer demand. Environmentalists argued that the two units would increase pollution already coming from Cliffside and that Duke failed to fairly explore cleaner power-generating options.

Commissioner Robert V. Owen Jr. dissented from the ruling, saying the application should have been denied in its entirety.

The commission says permission to build the single unit and related power transmission facilities at the Cliffside is conditional upon Duke Energy retiring four existing units as soon as the new generator is operational.

The commission also ordered Duke to invest 1 percent of its annual retail revenues from electricity sales in energy efficiency programs.