A year ago, when it looked like Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers would be stepping down, Duke executives were fishing around for a suitably-sized thank-you to their chief executive.
The grandest gesture of all in utility-land is naming a power plant after a onetime CEO. So Duke officials mused: What power plant could make a lasting public statement about the legacy of Jim Rogers?
Internal emails released this week by Duke to the N.C. Utilities Commission show that company officials briefly considered associating Rogers with two of the most controversial energy projects in Duke's recent history.
The irony was not lost on longtime Duke critic, Jim Warren, who runs NC WARN, a Durham advocacy group.
"Interesting parallel to what a lot of the activists were thinking down the same line," Warren said, laughing. "We want to wrap his legacy around building the last coal plant -- while he's dancing on the international stage as the visionary power CEO."