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Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

Duke Energy Sells 5 NC And SC Hydroelectric Plants

Gaston Shoals Hydro Station is among five plants Duke Energy has sold to Northbrook Energy.
Duke Energy
Gaston Shoals Hydro Station is among five plants Duke Energy has sold to Northbrook Energy.

Duke Energy has completed the sale of five small hydroelectric plants in the western Carolinas that it says have become too expensive to maintain and operate. It's taking a loss on the sale, which it eventually hopes to recover from customers. 

Northbrook Energy is paying $4.75 million for the plants — three in the Nantahala area and two in the Broad Rivers Basin of North and South Carolina. Northbrook will sell power back to Duke under a five-year contract. 

In its request for regulatory approval, Duke calculated that the deal would reduce costs for ratepayers.

The century-old plants generate a total of 18.7 megawatts of electricity — less than 1% of hydroelectric generation in Duke's western Carolinas region. They are:

  • Bryson Hydro Station, Whittier, Swain County, N.C., opened 1925   
  • Franklin Hydro Station, Franklin, Macon County, N.C., 1925
  • Mission Hydro Station, Murphy, Clay County, N.C., 1924
  • Gaston Shoals Hydro Station, Blacksburg, Cherokee County, S.C., 1908 
  • Tuxedo Hydro Station, Flat Rock, Henderson County, N.C., 1920 

Duke says it will lose $40 million on the sale, based on the plants' book value, but hopes to recover $27 million from customers with a future rate increase.  
Duke did not say how many employees are affected by the sales.  A spokeswoman said some would go to work for Northbrook, while others could find jobs elsewhere at Duke.  

Northbrook Energy is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a private, independent power producer with hydroelectric plants in 12 states.

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.