Time to rid Duke of its monopoly

To the Editor:

When I think about the purpose of industry, it is that our children would have good lives. That it would be of benefit to all our lives. Toxicity from industry is a problem that is increasing, on a huge scale. Weighed in the balance, much industrial production is endangering the lives of children through cancer and nervous system disorders, in exchange for products that may make life more convenient but have little real value. We are trading true benefit for ourselves for material goods. It is naive to believe that industry can continue this way. 

Duke Energy’s legal monopoly on power production in North Carolina needs to end. This is an antiquated approach to energy that is attempting to kill new technologies, and is already lethal to our rivers and communities. Duke Energy Corporation has proved itself an irresponsible company, and there is no reason to shield Duke from competition by better technologies. This state needs to be able to support new technologies that protect people’s health and move our grid in the direction that we have to go. 

Entrepreneurs from China, South Korea, Russia and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote construction of a shared wind and solar grid in the Gobi Desert that would operate at a massive scale, and allow deconstruction of nuclear plants. It’s encouraging to see foreign leaders forging paths to independence from fossil fuel reliance.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is still bent on a path that walls us off from pursuit of new technologies. Obsolescence is the way we’re headed, if as a country we aren’t able to adapt legal constraints to build the types of grids we need to address climate change and stay competitive with clean and effective energy production that is the future. Duke Energy’s plans to build a new natural gas powered plant in Asheville is a move towards continued toxicity, groundwater poisoning in the areas of the country where the gas is sourced through hydraulic fracturing, and a backwards play in a game of change in electric generation in which time is of the essence. Duke has actively and viciously fought solar development in N.C., at the same time that the company created massive public harm in the Dan River. 

My father is a retired electrical engineer who developed patents and created innovative material applications. It’s time we stop halting the innovations and improved technologies we desperately need, remove Duke’s stranglehold on progress, and move forward in North Carolina.

Autumn Woodward


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