NC Senate approves changing plant from coal to natural gas

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Some environmental changes are on the way in the western part of North Carolina.

On Thursday, the Senate passed the Mountain Energy Act of 2015. That allows Duke Energy to convert an old coal-fired plant in Asheville to a natural gas power plant.

Lawmakers said it also will include some on-site solar generation.

Some environmental advocates say they are pleased but with the bill went further.

“It’s good for the region, the communities, the air and the water that this coal-burning facility is going to be retired,” said Dustin Chicurel-Bayard with the North Carolina Sierrea Club. “Again, unfortunately, Duke Enery is not going to be embracing the clean energy solutions that the North Carolina communities really deserve.”

Duke Energy said the natural gas emissions will be a fraction of the coal emissions and a spokesman called the plant “a major step forward.”

The bill also delays the deadline for coal ash removal at the site by three years, until 2022.

Copyright 2015 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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