November 2, 2023 [NC Newsline]- Mangum’s Store anchors a corner of Moriah and Mt. Harmony Church roads in rural Rougemont, where it sells a little bit of everything: groceries, gasoline, even sleds – which actually get some use in Person County because it lies above the “snow line” in central North Carolina.
Up the road, Sweet T Farm raises pork, poultry and beef on pasture. Just south, the Elderberry Co-housing Community is home, as resident Theresa Ahrens put it, “to 24 old people there who want to live peacefully and in harmony in this beautiful place.”
Now this small community could get a new neighbor: Dominion Energy, the main corporate actor behind the defunct Atlantic Coast Pipeline, plans to build the Moriah Energy Center, two 25-million-gallon liquified natural gas facilities on 485 acres in southeastern Person County, about two miles from the Durham and Granville county lines. The facility itself would require just 50 to 60 acres, but the additional space would serve as a safety buffer – and space for a possible expansion. Dominion spokesperson Persida Montanez told Newsline a second LNG operation could eventually be built onsite. “That’s the reason for the project – market demand.”
That demand – spurred by a 2.8% increase in the number of Dominion customers in the Triangle – does not include Roxboro or Person County. The population in those two areas remained flat or declined slightly between 2010 and 2020, according to census data.
Natural gas is composed mostly of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and major driver of climate change. Globally, 2023 was the hottest year on record because of climate change, which also contributed to catastrophic flooding, droughts and wildfires worldwide.
Gas from fracking operations outside North Carolina would arrive at the Moriah Energy Center via either of two Dominion Energy transmission pipelines, which are fed by the Transco pipeline. (The Transco pipeline ships gas from fracking operations and runs through a dozen states between Texas and Pennsylvania.) Alternately, the LNG would be shipped to the Moriah Energy Center by tanker truck.
The gas would then be chilled to 260 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, and stored in the tank. At peak demand times, usually during the winter, the gas would be vaporized and re-injected into the pipeline system. It’s unknown how often that would occur, although it could be as few as eight days a year.
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