Duke Energy said this afternoon it will not build an electric substation in view of a sacred Cherokee mound in Western North Carolina.
The Charlotte-based power company said it will select one of two alternate sites after further engineering studies and permitting reviews.
The state's biggest electric utility, with 1.8 million customers in North Carolina, had been heading for a showdown with Cherokee tribe members and Swain County officials over the holy site, known as Kituwah.
In March, Swain County issued a moratorium on development to stop Duke from developing the land it bought two years ago for $1.5 million about a half-mile from Kituwah.
The Cherokees consider the Kituwah the birthplace of their nation and equivalent to the Garden of Eden in religious symbolism. The 309-acre site lies near the Tuckaseegee River, east of Bryson City.
Duke is building a tie station to meet rising electricity demand in the region.
The company said one of the alternate sites is in the Swain County Industrial Park and the other is in the Sheppard's Creek area. The facility will reduce electricity voltage for local power distribution.