WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Unsurprisingly,. Duke’s intent to sell some of its small hydropower plants had raised concerns among rafters and kayakers. The rapids Duke has been controlling are international destinations for whitewater enthusiasts, and they support the livelihoods of numerous outdoor outfitters. Over the years, Duke had evolved its operation schedule to be symbiotic with the interests of river users. After holding months of stakeholder meetings, Duke enclosed in the terms of sale conditions that reservoir levels and river flows must maintain a schedule similar to the current year’s, and that the new owner must post online a flow forecast covering the current day plus two. The contract is good for five years with two five-year renewal periods. The five plants involved in the sale are the Bryson, Franklin, and Mission plants on the Nantahala River and the Tuxedo and Gaston Shoals plants on the Green and Broad rivers. The five are capable of generating up to 18.7 megawatts combined. While operations should continue uninterrupted, the plants will be run by private hydropower company Northbrook Energy, which will sell power back to Duke. Representatives from Duke said their company is unloading the plants because operational costs have become too high.