At no point in the Dillsboro Dam controversy in Jackson County do I recall Duke Energy proposing to use that small dam as a part of their/Jackson County disaster plan. Working in cooperation with Southwestern Community College, Western Carolina University and Harris Regional Hospital, Duke could have led in a plan to assure electric power for the hospital in the event of a disaster (such as an attack by a rogue enemy that results in an electromagnetic pulse in our region.)
The frightening novel, “One Second After,” by William R. Forstchen and the “Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack” show the need to keep small hydoelectric plants operating as “islands” of electric service.
Macon County leaders would be wise to enlist the technical expertise of Duke in cleaning up Lake Emory and linking the hydroelectric plant to their disaster plan. Duke’s electrical engineers know how to “harden” the plant, making it junctional without dependence on vulnerable electronic controls.
Some people will argue that we have little reason to fear an electromagnetic pulse attack. Let’s hope they are right in the long run. Yet, how many people ever thought 9/11 was a real possibility prior to that horrific tragedy? Preparation could prove to be highly valuable and much, much less expensive than recovery efforts.
Here’s one citizen hoping Macon County will work with Duke Energy on this important project. I am also hoping that Duke will place profit secondary to service to the residents of this region.
Dave Waldrop — Webster, N.C.