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Fight over Duke gas plant continues; appeal bond now at $98M

Groupsopposed to Duke Energy ProgressLLC's Asheville combined-cycle gas plant are not backing downin their fight against approval of the project.

TheNorth Carolina Utilities Commission on July 8 imposed a $98 million bond uponNorth Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, or NC WARN, tied to thepotential appeal of the construction permit for the $1 billion project inBuncombe County, N.C. The NCUC said in its order that the bond isreasonable and represents potential damages from cancellation costs of majorequipment contracts, sunk development costs and the increased cost of labor andmaterials. (Docket No.E-2, Sub 1089)

NCWARN, in a July 8 news release, said it will appeal the bond order to the NorthCarolina Court of Appeals.

TheCourt of Appeals on June 7 vacated and remanded a that stateregulators imposed for challenges to the plant's construction permit. NC WARNand The Climate Times argue that no bond should be imposed since the groupshave not asked to delay or stop construction.

Awitness for the Duke EnergyCorp. subsidiary, however, said the company would of theAsheville gas plant if the groups pursue an appeal, and requested a $240million bond to reflect the full cost of the projected delay.

DEPplans to build two 280-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fired units andupgrade transmissionfacilities as part of its plan to the 379-MW coal plant.

DukeEnergy anticipates beginning construction on the project in October and plansto have it online by the fall of 2019 to comply with state law.