What, No Opposition? The Latest on Duke’s Unusual Mount Sterling Microgrid

You won’t see this often. North Carolina regulators have canceled a hearing on an energy project – Duke Energy’s Mount Sterling microgrid – because no one had anything bad to say about it.

Energy projects are notoriously galvanizing. Even small rooftop solar projects sometimes get kicked to the curb by someone who doesn’t like the looks of them. Nimbyism and energy at times seem inseparable.

But no one has expressed opposition to Duke Energy’s request for a certificate of public convenience for the Mount Sterling microgrid. Duke filed the application in November before the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

“The commission has not received any complaints or protests in this docket. Further, the commission staff consulted with counsel for the public staff and was informed that the public staff has not received any complaints or protests in this docket,” wrote the NCUC (Docket NO. E-2, SUB 1127).

In addition, Duke has “received positive feedback regarding the microgrid facility as a part of its collaborative efforts with Asheville area customers,” said the NCUC in a decision canceling a hearing scheduled for today at the Haywood County Courthouse.

The Mount Sterling microgrid includes a 10-kW solar installation and a 95-kWh zinc-air battery storage unit. Built as a non-wires alternative, the small microgrid promises to rid Great Smoky Mountains of four miles of distribution wire and return about 13 acres of wilderness to its natural state.

So rather than obstructing a scenic vista, as so many energy projects do, it’s improving the view.

So rather than obstructing a scenic vista, as so many energy projects do, it’s improving the view.

“There’s a lot to love about this microgrid project, and we’re glad customers recognize the benefits. We hope approval is around the corner,” said Randy Wheeless, spokesman for Duke Energy.

Expected to cost less than $1 million, the Mount Sterling microgrid will energize a communications tower. It respresents Duke’s first microgrid that will be built for commercial, not research purposes.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


  1. […] microgrid follows a decision in January by the commission to forego a hearing because there was no opposition to the […]

  2. […] Duke’s regulated project is the unusual Mt. Sterling microgrid, which the North Carolina Utilities Commission recently […]

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