Duke Energy CEO Expects Challenge To EPA Power Plant Rules

Duke Energy CEO Expects Challenge To EPA Power Plant Rules

9:20am Oct 08, 2015
Duke Energy President and CEO Lynn Good in Winston-Salem Thursday.
WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

The president and CEO of Duke Energy expects a challenge to new EPA regulations targeting power plants. The Obama Administration announced the Clean Power Plan in August, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Duke Energy’s Lynn Good says it’s one of the most comprehensive set of rules to ever impact the industry. But she says it has many problems that could make it difficult to implement.

“You know I think the rule is complicated," she says. "The rule itself changed dramatically from what was proposed. The time frames are tight, even though it’s 15 years.  So I do think there will be legal challenges to the rules, either from industry or from others, to really determine how it makes sense to go forward.”

Good says Duke Energy has reduced carbon emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels. She says that’s been achieved by moves to natural gas and renewable energy sources.

Power plants are the largest source of carbon emissions in the country.  The Clean Power Plan seeks state-by-state reductions starting in 2022 with the target goals reached by 2030.

The recent storms that hit the Carolinas caused some damage to two Duke Energy facilities. State environmental officials say the damage appears to be minor.

Good says the company has a monitoring system in place for when severe weather strikes.

“We were inspecting from the beginning to the end of the storm to identify where we thought there was something that needed to be repaired and repaired quickly. We responded quickly," she says. "And the basins are safe and the facilities are safe, so I’m proud of the way the company responded.”

State officials say that on Saturday Duke Energy reported clear water was seeping at an embankment on the dam at the Belews Creek coal ash facility station in Stokes County.

The seeping water did not appear to be from the coal ash facility and state inspectors say there was no threat to the dam.

Another Duke facility on Lake Norman had a sinkhole develop near a dam. That hole was filled with crushed stone and that dam too appeared not to be threatened. 

Good says the company will make a recommendation to the state by the end of the year on how they plan to close down their remaining coal ash plants. The final decision will be up to the state's Coal Ash Management Committee. 

All of the company's coal ash ponds and power plants must be closed by 2029 under a timeline imposed after a massive spill into the Dan River in 2014.

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