N.C. regulators refuse to halt coal power plant expansion

The N.C. Utilities Commission on Wednesday denied environmentalists' move to stop the expansion of Duke Energy's Cliffside coal-fired power plant west of Charlotte.

The N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network had asked the commission to revoke its approval of the 800-megawatt expansion that was granted in 2007.

With the ruling, the only remaining challenges to Cliffside are before a state administrative court. A federal lawsuit filed by environmental groups to stop or modify the expansion was dismissed earlier this year. Before the utilities commission, WARN claimed that completing the project was no longer in the public interest. The need for the expansion, it said, is based on Duke's potential sales of wholesale power, not the electricity demands of its Carolinas retail customers.

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