Two advocacy groups will have to put up $10 million to appeal the approval of Duke Energy’s new power plant in Asheville.
The N.C. Utilities Commission approved the natural gas-fired plant in February, over the objections of advocates including Durham-based NC WARN and Boone’s Climate Times.
Duke argues that it has to begin construction in October in order to comply with a state law that requires the $1 billion plant be operating by 2020. A two-year delay in construction, while the appeal is litigated, could cost the company $50 million to $140 million, the company said.
WARN and the Climate Times called Duke’s request that they post a $50 million bond an attempt to intimidate advocates from appealing.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The commission ruled Tuesday that WARN, as a condition of its appeal, sign by May 27 a promise to pay Duke $10 million if the company suffers damage.
Duke, in turn, is required to tell the commission by Sept. 1 whether it will delay construction because of the appeal. If Duke decides to begin work, the commission said it might be willing to cancel WARN’s $10 million pledge.