Where do we draw the line? 

Not everyone’s diving into the “burning gas to generate electricity” game, like SEPTA and others in our region, even if it’s the much touted CHP (combined heat & power) tactic.

This month, Duke University gets cold feet for 21 MW CHP plant after environmental objections, stating

“… with renewable resources becoming more prevalent, some advocates are looking for greater benefits, such as new power source enabling the retirement of existing fossil fuel generation onsite.”

If you’re curious about some of the objections, I recommend this response to the Duke CHP Overview Document, which goes over the accounting for CHP plant emissions, about fairness, and about developing leadership within the community.

“…the project in effect will be financed by all Duke Energy customers in the state, while Duke University will claim all the purported greenhouse gas emission benefits associated with the project. This does not seem to be in keeping with fundamental notions of fairness.”

“Another aspect of leadership is to more broadly and fully engage the university community, especially students, in a discussion of the pros and cons of the proposed project and potential non-fossil fuel alternatives.”


Heeding Bill McKibben’s lead to halt fossil fuel extraction, we can’t also be investing in any new gas power plants that build a dependency on continued extraction. This is where we draw the line.

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