The most lethal for public health: Marshall coal-fired power station
Duke Energy is a massive electric utility company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They own dozens of coal-fired power plants around the country, most of which burn coal from the devastating method known as mountaintop removal mining. If a planned merger with Progress Energy is successful, Duke will become the largest utility company in the nation– and a nuclear giant as well as a coal giant.
Duke Energy has talked a lot about the need for action on climate change, and the company’s leadership seems to understand that they could drive that change. Duke CEO Jim Rogers said last year, “we’re in a unique position in the power industry to deploy the solutions, to raise the capital and not raise the national debt, to do it at scale, and to do it in China time.”
Duke Energy says it wants to be a responsible, forward-looking company. Unfortunately, their reality doesn’t match their rhetoric. Duke is building two giant new coal-fired power plants and plans to build new nuclear power plants. They continue to do business with coal companies like Alpha Natural Resources (formerly Massey Energy) who continue blowing the tops off pristine mountains in Central Appalachia. And they’re spending a tiny fraction of the billions they make from rate-payers on renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Unfortunately, the planned merger with Progress seems to only be leading them down more dead ends–more nuclear investment, more dirty biomass, and more massive coal-fired power plants. These companies continue to rely on coal plants that pollute the air, destroy the mountains, poison the water and kill the climate.
Duke should Be a Leader
Duke Energy could enact real solutions to save our climate and spare millions of lives affected by coal. The company should commit to leading the power industry by committing to:
- Not renew a single new contract for mountaintop removal coal
- Get coal out of their mix altogether by 2030
- Deliver at least a third of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020.
The Marshall coal-fired power station has been in operation since 1965. This station has the highest emissions of asthma and heart disease inducing NOx and SO2 emissions of Duke’s North Carolina fleet (9000 tons and 3800 tons respectively), and emits 11.5 million tons of carbon pollution annually. Because of its upwind proximity to Winston-Salem, a significant metro area, the pollution from this plant has the highest adverse health impact in Duke’s fleet, estimated to cause 130 deaths and 2200 asthma attacks per year, according to research commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force.
|Duke Energy Corp||Allen Steam Plant||Active Ash Pond||Belmont, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Belews Creek Steam Station||Active Ash Pond||Walnut Cove, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Buck||New Primary Pond||Spencer, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Buck||Secondary Pond||Spencer, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Buck||Primary Pond||Spencer, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Dan River||Secondary Pond||Eden, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Dan River||Primary Pond||Eden, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Marshall Steam Station||Active Ash Pond||Terrell, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Riverbend||Secondary Pond||Mount Holly, NC|
|Duke Energy Corp||Riverbend||Primary Pond||Mount Holly, NC|