Progress continues on clean air in WNC: State looks to accelerate shift to renewable energy

In an era when most environment-related news carries a hue of doom and gloom, the saga of air quality trends in Western North Carolina is a welcome exception. 

In the 1990s, ground-level ozone was high — Asheville teetered on the edge of violating federal standards, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park actually did exceed them — and white haze emanating from area power plants made visibility so poor that visitors had a hard time seeing the waves of blue mountains for which the region is named. The tourism industry worried that poor air quality would deter travelers from stopping in the Smokies. 

Rate increase for Duke Energy customers denied

When residents gave testimony back in January adamantly opposing Duke Energy Carolinas’ rate increase request to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, many assumed their strong dissension would fall on deaf ears. 

No decision on Duke Energy rate hike for WNC

The North Carolina Public Utilities Commission has not yet ruled on a rate increase request for Duke Energy customers in Western North Carolina despite conflicting reports. 

Duke customers: ‘Pay for your own mistakes’

Western North Carolina residents recently made it clear they do not support Duke Energy Progress’s request for a 15 percent rate increase for its customers.

As required by law, the North Carolina Utilities Commission conducted a public hearing to gather input on the corporation’s request. More than a dozen people testified during the quasi-judicial hearing held in Franklin, and a majority of the speakers were against any increase at all.

Smaller increases slated for Waynesville electric customers

Duke Energy isn’t the only utility company raising its electric rates this year amidst rising energy costs, but some local electric customers will see a better deal than others.

Duke proposes $62 million solar rebate program

Duke Energy is proposing a $62 million solar rebate program designed to help its North Carolina customers with the upfront cost of installing solar panels on their property.

Solar in the Smokies: Duke proposes microgrid for Mt. Sterling

Utility companies are not often known for being in harmony with nature; indeed, Duke Energy’s recent coal ash fiascos come readily to mind when environmental and industrial concerns begin to comingle.

Cherokee give $50,000 to oppose North Dakota pipeline

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians threw its support behind the cause of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota when Tribal Council voted to give $50,000 toward a legal battle to prevent construction of an oil pipeline north of Standing Rock Sioux land.

Scaled-down plans for Duke’s Asheville plant approved

NorthCarolinaLargeDuke Energy Progress’s plan to replace its coal-fired power plant in Asheville with natural gas has garnered partial approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission.

Solar farm comes to Bethel

out frThe agricultural community of Bethel now has a new type of farm in its midst — solar. 

Visible from U.S. 276, the 8.2-acre property sandwiched between the Bethel Community Cemetery and Exxon-Mobil gas station holds more than 6,000 solar panels, each 6 feet, 5 inches long and 3 feet, 3 inches wide. The whole array has a size of 1.5 megawatts, a rating that allows it to produce 2.9 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power 240 average U.S. homes.

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