Report to Warn of Major Spike in Electricity Rates in N.C. if Duke, Progress Move Ahead With Five Nuclear, Coal-Fired Power Plants

March 30, 2009

Research to Show That Modest Gains in Energy Efficiency, Renewable Power Would Cover Growth in Demand – and Allow Retirement of Existing Coal-Fired Units

WASHINGTON, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — North Carolina consumers will see wallet-busting increases in their electric bills if Duke Energy and Progress Energy move ahead with plans for up to four nuclear reactors and a coal-fired power plant, according to a major new report prepared by the former chair of the Duke University Economics Department for NC WARN (North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network).

Based on the utilities’ own data, the report also shows that not only are new plants unnecessary despite a growing population, but that modest increases in efficiency and clean power generation would allow phasing out of many existing coal plants within the next 15 years – a major boost for national efforts to slow emissions of greenhouse gases.

To be released at 1:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday (March 31, 2008), the report will expose how the costly Duke and Progress plans would add insult to injury for consumers, since the tens of billions of dollars required to build the power plants would be wasted on the risky and unnecessary plants.

The NC WARN news event is being made possible with support from the Civil Society Institute and TheClean.org (http://www.TheClean.org).

News event speakers will be:

* Report author John Blackburn, PhD, professor emeritus of economics, and former Chair of the Economics Department at Duke University; and

* Report co-author John Runkle, environmental attorney, NC WARN.

Dr. Blackburn has conducted research into energy efficiency and renewable energy over more than two decades. He has authored two books and numerous articles on the future of energy, and has served on the Advisory Boards of the Florida Solar Energy Center and the Biomass Research Program at the University of Florida. He has testified before the N.C. Utilities Commission in several utility dockets on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

According to the report, both Duke Energy and Progress Energy have inflated demand figures to make an erroneous and misleading case for the new power stations.

Progress Energy is proposing two new reactors at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant near Raleigh, while Duke Energy wants to build two reactors in Gaffney, South Carolina, not far from Charlotte. If completed, each of the four reactors are likely to cost ratepayers in North and South Carolina between $8 and 12 billion. Duke Energy is building a large coal-burning plant at Cliffside, scheduled to open in 2012, with costs currently estimated at $2.4 billion. Costs for some of the plants could balloon even further when construction problems and delays are taken into account.

TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 1:30 p.m. EDT on March 31, 2009 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Ask for the “North Carolina energy bill hike” news event.

CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of 6 p.m. EDT on March 31, 2009 at http://www.ncwarn.org.

NC WARN (North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network) is a member – based nonprofit tackling the accelerating crisis posed by climate change – by working for a swift North Carolina transition to energy efficiency and clean power. In partnership with other citizen groups, NC WARN uses sound scientific research, advocacy and public education and involvement. For more information, visit http://www.ncwarn.org.

SOURCE NC WARN (North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, Durham, NC)

Source: newswire

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