Duke Energy sets $1.5 million in funds for Dan River Basin Region
Charlotte-based Duke Energy announced Wednesday it has set aside $1.5 million in Water Resources Funds for projects in the Dan River Basin Region. The region includes Southern Virginia, which was partly affected by the electric company's coal ash spill earlier this year.
In February, a stormwater pipe beneath an ash basin broke at Duke Energy’s closed Dan River power plant in Eden, N.C. The break caused one of the largest coal-ash spills in U.S. history (up to 39,000 tons, the company estimates).
“Since the accident at our Dan River site, we've worked hard to strengthen our operations and to make things right – fixing the leak, cleaning the river and making sure the water quality remains safe,” Lynn Good, Duke Energy's president and CEO said in a statement. “We have a long history of protecting the environment and doing the right thing for the customers and communities we serve. Our ongoing work and support of the Water Resources Fund are demonstrations of our commitment.”
The funds are part of a total $10 million that will benefit waterways in the Carolinas and surrounding states.
The electric power company also said that it is investing half a million dollars to improve the Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville. Over the next year, Duke Energy will improve boating and fishing facilities in the park and construct new bathrooms, walkways, parking and access areas. The park served as a home-base for Duke Energy’s coal ash cleanup efforts along the Dan River. “…This investment makes good on our promise to the citizens of Danville to leave the park in better shape than before our work began,” Paul Newton, Duke Energy state president – North Carolina, said in a statement.
Projects in the Dan River Basin Region can benefit waterways directly, or help develop the area’s economic and community vitality.
Duke Energy also announced eight Water Resources Fund seed grantees that represent the types of projects the fund is seeking. That includes the $250,000 River Bank Fund for the Dan River Basin Region. The money will be used to address water quality, encourage new development, improve cleanliness, increase access and promote the Dan River to build regional pride and encourage tourism.