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DUKE ENERGY – WESTERN CAROLINAS MODERNIZATION PROJECT, FOOTHILLS TRANSMISSION LINE

In May of 2015 Duke Energy announced plans to retire its 376-MW coal-fired power plant in Asheville, close the adjacent ash basin, and modernize its generation and transmission system in the western North and South Carolina area, including the construction of new natural gas-fired and solar electric generation facilities. The Foothills Transmission Line, a proposed 45-mile 230-kV electric transmission line from Asheville into South Carolina, is one phase of this larger Western Carolinas Modernization Project. The Commission understands that the capacity of the natural gas pipeline serving the Asheville area will also be expanded.


Prior to beginning construction of the proposed 650-MW natural gas-fired electric generation facility, Duke Energy must file an application with and obtain approval from the Commission. In deciding whether to approve construction, the Commission will hold hearings in Asheville and in Raleigh and allow an opportunity for members of the public to address the Commission and express their opinions.


Similarly, Duke Energy must file an application with and obtain approval from the Commission before beginning construction of the Foothills Transmission Line. In separately deciding whether to approve construction of this electric transmission line, the Commission will hold additional hearings in western North Carolina and in Raleigh and allow an opportunity for members of the public, including potentially affected landowners, to specifically address the Commission and express their opinions on the need and proposed route for the transmission line.


Duke Energy has not yet filed an application to construct either the new natural gas-fired electric generation facility or the electric transmission line. However, in advance of the Foothills Transmission Line application, Duke Energy has begun holding informal public information meetings regarding the potential routes under consideration. The meetings being held by Duke Energy are preliminary and do not bind the Commission in any decision it must render. Once Duke Energy selects a final route and files its application, the Commission will schedule and hold the public hearings.


After the conclusion of the hearings on the Foothills Transmission Line, the Commission will issue a written order ruling on whether the public convenience and necessity requires construction of the proposed electric transmission line. If the Commission finds that Duke Energy has proven the need for the proposed electric transmission line, it must also determine whether the corridor Duke Energy’s engineers advocate for placement of the electric transmission line is the appropriate one. The Commission’s decision must be based on the evidence presented and the applicable law as established by the General Assembly.


Interested parties may keep themselves informed of the proceedings and filings regarding the North Carolina portion of Duke Energy’s proposed 230-kV Foothills Transmission Line project by visiting the Commission’s website, http://www.ncuc.net, clicking on Dockets, Docket Search, and typing either Docket No. E‑2, Sub 1083 or Docket No. E‑7, Sub 1092 (or click here). The Chief Clerk of the Utilities Commission is placing a copy in these dockets of any correspondence received related to the proposed electric transmission line project so that all Commissioners and interested parties have the benefit of reviewing such statements. At that web page anyone may also sign up to receive e-mail notifications of orders issued by the Commission in this case.

In addition, Duke Energy has posted details regarding the proposed 230‑kV Foothills Transmission Line project on its web site at http://www.duke-energy.com/western-carolinas-modernization/foothills.asp.

 

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