Asheville green business leaders to Duke Energy: Shut down the city’s coal-fired power plant


Photo courtesy of Western North Carolina Alliance/Western North Carolina Alliance’s French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson and Liz Button, owner of Curate and Nightbell restaurants, attended the Asheville Beyond Coal business reception on Thursday night. Button joined other local business owners in calling for Duke Energy to retire its coal-fired power plant and to move toward clean, renewable energy sources. With some business owners looking at comparison sites similar to Utility Bidder to find help with affordable and cleaner energy options.

Here’s the press release. I dropped by the event Thursday night and chatted with a few folks. What I like most is that these are business leaders walking the talk. They’re coming together and really showing that they, and by extension their customers, don’t have to settle for an outdated, detrimental approach to energy production. I’ve felt that for a long time, city leaders have done little more than pay lip service to the environmental stewardship issue. But things are changing. It takes a persistent, coordinated effort, such as Asheville Beyond Coal, it takes passionate people hounding political leadership and spending their money differently, and it takes business leaders like these folks to step up.


Eighty businesses across the greater Asheville area have signed a joint letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good demanding retirement of the city’s coal-fired power plant, and several of the business owners gathered to mark the signing at an Asheville Beyond Coal reception Thursday evening.

Along with calling for a transition away from coal, the letter calls for increased investment in a clean energy future for “the health of our local economy, our community, and our planet.”

Among the signers are well-known local businesses, including Cúrate, Blue Ridge Biofuels, the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Katuah Market, Black Mountain Yoga, Blue Moon Water and Sundance Power Systems. Many of these businesses have incorporated best practices for sustainability into their business model.

“This is a wakeup call to Duke Energy from small business owners, who are the heart and soul of Asheville’s economy” said Dayna Reggero of Accelerating Appalachia, a local business accelerator based in Asheville.

“Burning coal is a dirty, polluting form of generating electricity that is harmful to our air, water and health, and using it to power our city doesn’t match with our community’s values of healthy living,” said Medea Galligan, owner of Medea’s Espresso and Juice Bar, which is located in the vicinity of the power plant. “We are on a path to become a green city, but the coal plant here is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. I would like to see our community powered by clean energy instead.”

Duke Energy’s Asheville-area coal plant is the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina. Years of data confirm that toxic pollution is leaking from its coal ash pits into both the river and groundwater. This plant is the the largest industrial source of air pollution in Western North Carolina as well.

In October 2013, the Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Duke Energy to responsibly retire the coal plant and transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Asheville Beyond Coal reception for the businesses included a special cocktail menu at Sovereign Remedies in downtown Asheville. Drinks crafted especially for the evening — with names like “Hazy Day,” “Duke’s Up” and a “Coal Ash Martini” — were on tap for the event.

The list of businesses:

11Eleven Creative

Aiyana Holistic Healing & Massage

Altamont Brewing Company

Amazing Pubcycle

American Folk Art and Framing

Asheville Arborcare

Asheville Glass Center

Asheville Grown Business Alliance

Asheville Yoga Center

Black Mountain Yarn Shop

Black Mountain Yoga

Blue Moon Water

Blue Ridge BioFuels

BZ Design and Cloth Fiber Workshop

Charlotte Street Computers

Climbmax Sport Climbing Center

Coconut Organics/ The Coconut Co

Common Ground


Danny’s Dumpster

Dobra Tea

Doc Chey’s

Dripolator Coffeehouse

Dry Ridge Moving

Early Girl Eatery

Fired Up! Pottery

Firestorm Cafe & Books

French Broad Brewing Company

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

Gallery MIA

Gingko Tree Gallery

Green Bee Cleaning Co.

Green Sage

Head To Toe

Heirloom Hospitality Group

High Five Coffee

Hip Replacements


Is Was + Will Be

Izzy’s Coffee Den

Jack of the Wood

Jerusalem Garden Cafe

Kathmandu Cafe

Katuah Market

King Daddy’s

Krull and Co

Laughing Seed Café

Liberty Bikes


Lucky Otter

Lululemon Athletica


Medea’s Espresso & Juice Bar

Michele Salon

Mushroom Central

Nest Organics

New Age Garden Center


Nine Mile

On-A-Roll, Inc.

Patton Ave Pets

Posana Café

Rachman Clinic

Rhetorical Factory


Rise ‘N Shine Café

Saffron Fine Foods

Smiling Hara Tempeh

Sovereign Remedies


Sundance Power Systems

The Antique Tobacco Barn

The Bender Gallery


Urban Revisions

West Asheville Yoga

West End Bakery

Willow Creek Nursery

Willow’s Dream Salon

Youngblood Bicycles


Matt October 20, 2014 - 7:23 pm

In response to all the knee-jerk reactions on here, If you read the above press release, apparently City council made the same call, unanimously, for Duke to shut this plant down, which is telling.

I think this is about more than just wanting to shut down the plant just because it’s coal. It’s about accountability for a particularly nasty pollution source. To keep it running, I think it can be argued, is pure negligence.

A city has to fight a power company to get a healthy power source, otherwise Duke will just $##* all over us while providing us power. It’s tricky and its very political.

RedHotPoker October 20, 2014 - 7:07 am

did ya see the weekend headline and link to the AC-T article on CarolinaPlottHound dot com ?

‘How can you tell when the ENVIROS’ are LYING?’ …

when their lips are moving, of course! these people are so over the top of reality…WNC Alliance cred just shot all to hell…

James Dardin October 19, 2014 - 7:02 pm

What about the paper mill in Canton? THE MAJOR polluter of air and water in NC and Tennessee. Why is this plant never a target? Because of the high paying jobs. Face it. Everyone including regulators look the other way. Are we standing for the environment or not? How many businesses would sign for closing that plant?

Dustin October 19, 2014 - 12:45 pm

I propose we boycott Duke Energy. Let’s stop using electricity generated by the Asheville coal plant, effective January 1st. Who’s with me? C’mon let’s take a stand and show them who’s Boss!

weavervilleman October 19, 2014 - 8:21 pm

Not everyone runs on Solar or Water. If we shut it down, you will put MANY people out of work, people WILL lose power, etc. etc. etc.!!! There are other ALTERNATIVES to allieviate the coal waste.

Jason W. October 19, 2014 - 9:56 am

What are they going to replace it with? Hippies on bicycle generators?

It’s still just all talk. They want the power plant shut down, but have no concrete plan about how to do it, or what to replace it with besides a generic “cleaner energy.”

Harry October 21, 2014 - 8:39 pm

I like the hippies on bicycle generators idea. Finally turn them into productive citizens.

chris October 21, 2014 - 10:42 pm

I guess ranting like a tinfoil hat loon qualifies as productive?

ashevillain October 18, 2014 - 10:57 am

By “walking the talk” do you mean that these businesses have already disconnected from Duke Energy and are now totally relying on other means of energy?

If so, awesome. If not, then what do you mean?

Nick October 18, 2014 - 5:08 pm

I am pretty positive that most of these business use Duke still. As much as I am against Duke, the people here need to come up with the solution. Writing a letter saying “We don’t like how you create energy” without any solution is lazy in my opinion. They should hire some energy specialist, or whatever they are called, and offer up cost effect solutions to Duke.

Realist October 17, 2014 - 8:21 pm

A noble cause, for sure, but I’d love to hear what’s replacing coal’s energy, where that source is located, who owns it and what it costs us residents.

Also, Duke Energy’s Asheville-area coal plant may be “the largest source of climate-disrupting carbon pollution in Western North Carolina,” but folks should know it is not what causes pollution here in our valley. If you want clear views of the mountains here, you must talk to Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, whose pollution ends up here as the jet stream dips south.

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