Durham, N.C. — Opponents of a power plant that has been proposed for Duke University’s campus say it is unneeded and would expand the use of natural gas obtained through the controversial process of “fracking.”
Duke agreed last year to allow Duke Energy to build the 21-megawatt combined heat and power plant on a 1-acre site off Wallace Wade Boulevard, but after some people questioned the move, university administrators decided to collect more community input before proceeding.
A meeting for people to speak in favor of or against the $55 million plant is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Gross Hall.
A university committee will take those comments into account before making a recommendation on the plant next month. The North Carolina Utilities Commission also must sign off on the plan before construction can begin.
Duke Energy spokesman Randy Wheeless said Duke University already has some natural gas boilers on campus to produce steam for heat and hot water, but new technology that captures and reuses waste heat from power generation to produce steam for heat and hot water is more efficient. Not only would the plant save the university $2 million a year in energy costs, Wheeless said, the new plant could also provide power to nearby neighborhoods.