The City of Asheville is committed to a collaborative and well-reasoned approach to identifying a suitable site for Duke Energy’s rebuild of the downtown electrical substation, currently located on Duke Energy property behind the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville. The rebuild of the substation is critical to the power reliability of the area. The City of Asheville worked with Duke Energy during a temporary pause to identify a suitable location for the Rankin Avenue substation.
The following project guiding principles informed the process:
- Provide reliable electricity by rebuilding the aging substation.
- Maintain the option to maintain and/or renovate the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
- Design the site so that there is minimal tree impact.
- Develop design elements that are in keeping with the surrounding area.
- Ensure that if the site design requires a temporary substation, it is portable with no foundations.
The City is working with Duke Energy to explore rebuilding the Rankin Avenue substation adjacent to the existing substation on the parcel behind Harrah’s event center at Rankin Avenue and Hiawassee Street.
Once Duke Energy receives the results of the site explorations, Duke Energy will begin design plans, including aesthetic considerations for the substation. The plans will be shared with the Community in the coming months.
During the construction process for the Rankin Avenue substation, Duke Energy will place a mobile substation on its Patton Avenue site. Once construction is complete for the Rankin Avenue substation, Duke Energy will remove the mobile substation, and the Patton Avenue site will be the location of a second new substation.
Duke Energy’s plans for the Patton Avenue location include a GIS (gas-insulated, high-voltage switchgear) substation approved by City Council in 2019.
Duke Energy’s current downtown substation is over 50 years old. It must be replaced to accommodate the increasing utility needs of our downtown businesses and residents and continue providing reliable electricity.
In August 2022, the City of Asheville and Duke Energy temporarily paused the project to allow for further consideration to address options and community input. Utilizing the input received to date, the City of Asheville and Duke Energy staff reviewed possible options for Duke’s rebuild of the current substation.
August 29, 2023: Duke Energy to hold an additional neighborhood meeting that will be virtual.
August 8, 2023: Duke Energy held a neighborhood meeting to comply with regulatory requirements associated with the Patton Avenue site.
March 2023 – Present: Duke Energy begins the local regulatory process.
February 2023: Duke Energy conducted site explorations at the proposed substation locations at Rankin Avenue. City of Asheville and Duke Energy began outreach and updated project neighbors.
January 2023: City staff and Duke Energy continued to explore locations for rebuilding the Rankin Avenue substation and discussed timing for the new Patton Avenue substation.
October 2022 – December 2022: City staff and Duke Energy explored and assessed the feasibility of substation locations for rebuilding the Rankin Avenue substation.
August – October 2022: City staff evaluated and developed concepts for the downtown substation. Additional concept evaluation with Duke Energy is needed to assess feasibility.
August 9, 2022: City of Asheville and Duke Energy temporarily paused the project to allow for further consideration to address options and community input.
Please visit Duke Energy’s Rankin Avenue Reliability Project Website for more information and project updates.
Economic Development Specialist
Community and Economic Development Department