Duke Energy Called to Use More Clean Energy

Luciano Gonzalez
Staff Writer

PC: Andreas160578, Pixabay

Corrections:
“… the company’s past includes a deadly coal ash spill …” – The spill was not deadly, and this has since been deleted

“… contributed to countless individuals consuming coal ash …” – No individuals were recorded consuming coal ash

“These toxins can do damage themselves directly to the body as well as increase the risk in those who are exposed to them of contracting or developing dangerous and life-threatening conditions.” – This paragraph has been deleted

A paragraph stating that there have been several spills contributing to coal ash has been deleted due to that information not being backed by a major source.

Corrections made February 21, 2019

Without immediate and committed action, it’s highly likely that there will be a climate crisis within the lifetimes of many people—not just young people, but middle-aged people, as well. Over the course of the past few weeks, this has been a central focus of some influential people and companies in North Carolina regarding climate change. Some of these companies include Duke Energy, which has revealed a proposal that they claim will reduce their rates of carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40 percent in comparison to 2005 levels by 2030. This number falls within the benchmarks established by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in an executive order issued in October to tackle climate change concerns.

Duke Energy is proposing an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is a plan to draw their own energy from a range of sources including clean energy and non-renewable energy sources alike. This plan would draw power from sources including nuclear energy and the company claims that it’s intending to wean itself off of coal power. Despite the claims by Duke Energy that their energy will be more clean, one of the sources claims that they are going to rely on will be natural gas, which is a methane emitter. Methane speeds up climate change more efficiently than carbon dioxide does.

At the present, around one-third of the company’s power comes from natural gas, but under their integrated resource plan, around half would come from natural gas. This is in addition to the continued, albeit decreased, usage of coal present in the new plan.

Coal ash is one of the waste products of coal-burning power plants and contains a multitude of dangerous chemicals like arsenic, lead, mercury and chromium.

Many critics of Duke Energy’s continued usage of coal also remember that the company’s past includes a coal ash spill in very recent memory that polluted North Carolina’s Dan River in 2014.

Some say that the biggest obstacle to a majority of power from companies like Duke Energy being generated by clean energy sources is nothing more than a lack of will from the companies themselves. One of those people is Orange County Commissioner, Marc Marcoplos, who powers his home mostly through solar energy with just a bit of assistance from Duke Energy’s own power.

“There are no economic or technical barriers to using 100 percent clean energy. The only barrier is local will,” said Marcoplos, who proceeded to urge the North Carolina Utilities Commission to reject Duke Energy’s IRP in a public hearing on Monday, Feb. 4. He is far from alone in his desire to see the IRP rejected. Over 100 people came out to the public hearing, and all of the speakers criticized Duke Energy over their resistance to switching to more clean energy sources.



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