Cliffside Plant (existing)

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Cliffside Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Duke Energy near Mooresboro, North Carolina.

Duke used half of its $4.8 billion ratepayer-funded "modernization" program in North Carolina (approved in 2009) to add a new 800MW coal-fired unit at the station.[1]

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Duke Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 781 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 40 MW (1940), 40 MW (1940), 65 MW (1948), 65 MW (1948), 571 MW (1972)
  • Location: 573 Duke Power Rd., Mooresboro, NC 28114
  • GPS Coordinates: 35.217222, -81.76111
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 4,199,413 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Coal Waste Sites

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cliffside

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[2] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[3]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Cliffside Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 21 $150,000,000
Heart attacks 31 $3,400,000
Asthma attacks 340 $18,000
Hospital admissions 16 $360,000
Chronic bronchitis 13 $5,600,000
Asthma ER visits 18 $7,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Cliffside ranked 68th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[4] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[5]

Cliffside Plant ranked number 68 on the list, with 413,459 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[4]

Direct actions against Cliffside

April 20, 2009: Planned protest in Charlotte, N.C. against Duke's proposed Cliffside plant

A mass rally is being planned for Earth Day, when hundreds of people from across North Carolina and beyond will converge on Duke's headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. to protest the new plant proposed at Cliffside. The additional plant, if built, would release 6 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, and would use coal extracted through mountaintop removal. The action starts Sunday, April 19th with trainings in strategic organizing and nonviolent direct action. The protest is scheduled for April 20.[6][7]

To participate or read more about this event, see

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "Charting the Correction Course: A Clean Energy Pathway for Duke Energy," Greenpeace, 2012.
  2. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  3. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  5. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  6., accessed March 2009.
  7. "Mass Rally and Civil Disobedience to Stop the Cliffside Coal Plant. Join the Cliffside Climate Action April 20 Charlotte, NC," It's Getting Hot In Here, accessed March 2009.

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