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Duke Energy Has Squandered Billions in Failed Natural Gas and Nuclear Projects,

Report: Duke Energy Has Squandered Billions in Failed Natural Gas and Nuclear Projects, Alex Formuzis, alex@ewg.org, EWG, 31 Aug 20, WASHINGTON – Since 2013, Duke Energy and its partners have scrapped natural gas pipelines and nuclear power plants totaling $11.6 billion, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

For most businesses, this record of blowing billions of dollars on one failed project and boondoggle after another would send finances reeling and the executives in charge packing.

But not when you are the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility, with a captive ratepayer base of 7.7 million across six states, and state lawmakers and regulators in your pocket who let you pass those losses onto customers through new fees and rate increases………………

Failed, costly projects like the ACP and the Edwardsport plant are business as usual for Duke, from the cancelled Lee nuclear plant in South Carolina to the cancelled Levy and shuttered Crystal River nuclear plants in Florida.

Plans for the construction of the Levy plant first began in 2006 under Progress Energy, which merged with Duke in 2012. The original estimate was $5 billion to $6 billion. By the time of the merger, the price tag had grown to $24 billion and the in-service date was pushed back eight years, to 2024.

Even in the face of overruns nearly five times higher than the original cost estimates, Duke was unfazed, pressing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate the plant. The NRC granted Duke’s request in 2016, but that same year the utility announced it would halt production. Florida regulators allowed Duke to charge customers $800 million for a plant that never delivered a kilowatt of electricity.

To drag Duke and other utilities into the clean energy future, politicians and regulators must disrupt the monopoly model that has ceded control of energy to profit-first corporations. Electricity rates should be tied to efforts to increase efficiency and promote renewables like rooftop and community solar – both of which Duke has fought to deny the captive ratepayers in its vast expansive service area. And stockholders, not ratepayers, should bear the costs and risks of big capital projects.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit www.ewg.org for more information.       https://www.ewg.org/energy/release/23293/report-duke-energy-has-squandered-billions-failed-natural-gas-and-nuclear

September 1, 2020 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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