Duke Energy is postponing its decision on where it will put transmission lines. The company says it needs time to consider public comment as well as alternatives to the proposed lines.
The company is planning to build a 45-mile transmission line between a substation to be built in Campobello, South Carolina, and Asheville as part of its larger modernization project. The project aims to replace the coal-burning Asheville plant with a natural gas plant.
The new gas plant will significantly reduce air emissions and water use at the Asheville power plant site. It also will enable the company to cancel plans for new coal-ash handling systems and a smaller and less efficient oil-fired power plant because these projects will no longer be necessary.
But community groups are voicing complaints saying that the transmission lines will harm tourism as it 140-foot transmission lines will block the view of some scenic spots in the area.
“This project, if approved, will adversely impact the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway (S.C. Hwy. 11), property values and resulting tax revenue from a growing multi-million dollar equine industry, numerous conservation and historical tracts in the area, and the property of many ordinary citizens.” said Michael and Arcada McCoy in a letter to Lib Fleming, a member of the S.C. Public Service Commission.
“Our goal is to have the best possible plan with the least impact on property owners, the environment and the communities we serve,” said Robert Sipes, general manager of delivery operations for the Western Carolinas. “Concerns about the transmission line and substation – and the potential impact on tourism and mountain views we all enjoy – are significant.”