Report: 50-100 Percent Jump in N.C. Electric Bills Possible if Duke, Progress Build 4 Unneeded Nuclear Plants and Duke Finishes Cliffside Coal-Fired Power Plant
The report is being issued against a national backdrop in which more than 60 of 150 planned coal-fired power plants already have been stopped and many more are likely to be halted. NC WARN issued the report today ahead of a filing this week in which the group is contesting the long-range utility demand forecasts and the supposed need for the new power plants.
The NC WARN news event to release the report was made possible with support from the Civil Society Institute and TheClean.org (http://www.TheClean.org).
Progress Energy is proposing two new reactors at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant near
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
According to the report: “Upcoming carbon regulation will also drive up the price of coal-fired power, giving even more impetus to efficiency programs and new renewable energy.” The report outlines four things Duke Energy and Progress Energy can do to avoid the risks associated with building the new nuclear and coal-fired power plants:
- Stop impeding progress toward real energy efficiency. Through proven programs growing at a modest pace, efficiency can be increased at least 1% per year through 2023. Twenty other U.S. utilities and municipalities have already achieved at least this much.
- Bring on renewable energy as required by the 2007 Energy Bill, Senate Bill 3. At least 7.5% of electricity from new renewable sources is well within reach, especially as prices for solar equipment continue declining and as
North Carolinajoins other mid-Atlantic states in developing its large wind energy potential.
- Make modest increases in load control programs to soften demand peaks.
- Add cogeneration (combined heat and power), a proven resource that is largely untapped in
Other highlights of the report include the following:
- “If nuclear plant cost estimates continue rising, power bills could easily double by the time they are built. New nuclear reactors are likely to cost
$8-12 billioneach if they are ever completed. In the 1980s, dozens of U.S. nuclear plants were cancelled during construction, and now, serious delays and design problems have emerged. This could leave customers with large rate hikes for abandoned projects, since under the 2007 NC Energy Bill, corporate stockholder risks are largely shifted to ratepayers. In early 2008, Wall Street lenders insisted they will not finance new plants without 100% loan guarantees by taxpayers.”
- “…Duke Energy is currently seeking permission to sell more electricity and is soliciting at least nine cities and other large customers outside its service area for wholesale contracts. Existing ratepayers would subsidize these new power sales by paying for the new plants needed to meet that demand. If approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission, this deal would add customers whose electricity usage exceeds the 800 MW capacity Duke Energy says it must build at the
ABOUT NC WARN
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
EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of
SOURCE NC WARN,