Duke CEO talks up Smart Grid and warns on gas dependency

US utility Duke Energy’s (NYSE: DUK), CEO Jim Rogers has urged the Smart Grid sector to fight fire with fire and outshout what he called ‘scaremongers’ whose vocal opposition threatened to damage the industry.

Rogers, speaking at a Charlotte conference on so-called “Smart Grid” technology, said the energy industry must continue to tout energy efficiency gains in the face of negativity to the new technology.

“We’ve got to be just as loud and repetitive as fearmongers,” Rogers told dozens of conference attendees at UNC Charlotte’s uptown campus.

Rogers’ remarks came Tuesday morning, during the opening of the 2012 North Carolina Smart Grid Forum, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The Duke chief also warned of the dangers of overdependency on gas fired power.

"The temptation is to build all gas, all the time because it's cheap and it's quick to build," Rogers said.

"But the reality is,what strengthens the electric grid of the U.S. is our mix of generation." Today's low gas prices "make it uneconomic to burn coal at this time. ... I don't want to put all my chips on any single (generating) technology--I want a blend. ... The toughest challenge today is to convince regulators and consumers to let us build something other than natural gas (generation)."

In the U.S., developers and utilities continue to unveil plans to build new gas fired generation to meet demand growth and to replace capacity being shuttered by federal environmental regulations like the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulation.

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