ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Two familiar Duke Energy leaders return to Asheville this month to support the company's operations and community relations efforts in Western North Carolina.
Robert Sipes, who currently manages Duke Energy's business services group in Charlotte, has been named general manager of the company's western zone.
As general manager, Sipes will lead Duke Energy's distribution operations in Western North Carolina. He will also provide leadership and oversight of Duke Energy's $1.1 billion modernization effort that includes retiring the 376-megawatt Asheville coal power plant; investing approximately $750 million to build a 650-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant; and installing solar generation at the site - one of the first combinations of its kind.
The plan includes investing approximately $320 million to build a transmission substation near Campobello, S.C., and connecting it to the Asheville power plant with an approximately 40-mile, 230-kiloVolt (kV) transmission line. It also includes upgrading and rebuilding additional electrical infrastructure such as transmission lines and distribution substations.
Jason Walls, who previously served the Asheville community as Duke Energy's district manager until April 2015, will return to the company Aug. 24 to assume the same role.
As district manager, Walls will continue to foster relationships and build partnerships across the community, serving as the day-to-day contact for local government, educators, as well as area community and civic leaders.
"Electricity demand in Asheville has doubled over the last four decades and is expected to grow by another 15 percent over the next 10 years," said Lloyd Yates, executive vice president, market solutions, and president, Carolinas region. "Both Robert and Jason have extensive industry experience and they live in the area. Their passion for their work and community will ensure strong collaboration with all stakeholders as we identify the best solutions to modernize the electrical infrastructure to reliably serve the areas growing energy needs."
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.