In response to Zachary Kuznar’s Nov. 27 letter “Duke power plant would be efficient, cost-effective”: To suggest that the plant will benefit the environment is to peddle a for-profit agenda with false data.
Kuznar’s claim that the proposal will decrease the amount of natural gas burned on campus only considers existing university-owned steam plants. With the new plant, the total amount of gas burned will increase.
At best, any decrease in carbon emissions is marginal – Duke University professors calculate the reduction to be a meager 2 to 4 percent. At worst, the plant increases emissions; the Natural Resources Defense Council and NC WARN find that emissions will increase by 30 percent or even 60 percent.
The plant proposal is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent federal regulations for carbon emissions and air pollutants, which apply to plants larger than 25 megawatts. This plant, at 21 megawatts, comes just under, allowing Duke Energy to run more plants with fewer emissions controls and invest less in energy efficiency.
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If Duke University is serious about its environmental goals, it should prioritize renewable energy. It is up to the university to thoroughly consider energy alternatives. Failure to do so does not make the plant the only option, it simply makes it the only explored option.