Energy/Environment

Local News
11:36 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Toxic Chemicals Illegally Dumped Into Charlotte Sewer

Credit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities

Charlotte police are trying to identify who pumped toxic chemicals into a city sewer line.  The incident caused authorities to shut down the Mallard Creek water treatment plant for some 17 hours.

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Local News
6:22 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Dan River Test Results Start To Come In

Crews working to get to the broken stormwater pipe under a coal ash pond at Duke Energy's retired Dan River coal plant, February 6, 2014.
Credit Duke Energy

Water test results are starting to come in from the part of the Dan River affected by a coal ash spill at a retired Duke Energy plant on the border of North Carolina and Virginia. WFAE’s Duncan McFadyen reports early results are in.


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Local News
7:36 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Day 5 Of Coal Ash Leak Into NC River

A contingent from Greenpeace led by N.C. State student Caroline Hartley returns from the site of the spill.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

A broken stormwater pipe from a retired Duke coal plant continues to leak ashy water into the Dan River on the border of North Carolina and Virginia. The pipe broke under an ash pond at the decommissioned Dan River coal plant, about 20 miles from Danville, Virginia. Duke workers are still trying to stem the flow and patch the leak.


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Local News
6:21 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Coal Ash Spills From Storage Pond At Duke Energy's Dan River Plant

The cracked wastewater pipe outflow at the Dan River.
Appalachian Voices

Engineers with Duke Energy are working to fix a broken drain pipe under a coal ash storage pond in northern North Carolina. As much as 10 percent of the coal ash in the pond may have spilled into the Dan River, just south of the Virginia state line. WFAE's Ben Bradford updates Morning Edition Host Kevin Kniestedt on the situation.


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Business
9:32 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Rooftop Solar Boosters Worry Boom Will End If Duke Gets Its Way

Vivian Lord's solar panels take up a small section of the roof, abate 75 percent of her household's utility bill.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Americans installed solar panels at their homes last year at a record pace, and backers of rooftop solar picture a not-too-distant future, where entire neighborhoods power themselves with the sun’s rays. For now, users and the industry rely on generous tax incentives and special agreements with electric utilities to reach affordability. Duke Energy wants to reduce how much it pays customers for the energy they produce. Rooftop solar advocates call it an attack on a burgeoning industry, while the utility says it is about cost.


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Local News
5:28 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Duke Ends Attempt To Buy Share Of SC Nuclear Plant

After two and a half years of negotiations, just when it looked like Duke Energy would buy a portion of a new nuclear plant in South Carolina, the company announced it has cut off negotiations.

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Science & Environment
10:22 am
Mon January 27, 2014

How Duke Will Sell Renewable Energy To Large Customers

Solar panels, Google Headquarters
Credit elwetritsche / Flickr

Duke Energy is in discussion with large companies, including Google and Facebook, to use renewable energy to power new electricity needs in North Carolina. Companies can pay a premium and Duke will pour energy of the companies’ choice—solar or wind, for instance—into the grid to match the amount of power used. The new program sailed through the state utilities commission last month, but some environmental organizations question its potential. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined Morning Edition host Kevin Kniestedt to explain.


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Science & Environment
12:19 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

NC Sues EPA Over Air Quality Standards

The EPA regulates particle pollution, which can be chemicals, acids, metals, soil and dust particles. Cars, refineries, factories and power plants all emit particulate matter.
Credit NCDOT

The state of North Carolina is suing the EPA. State environmental regulators are arguing that federal air quality standards are too stringent and should be loosened.


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Local News
9:29 am
Fri January 17, 2014

New Rule Allows Fracking Companies To Keep Certain Trade Secrets

A shale gas well in Pennsylvania.
Credit wcn247/flickr

North Carolina is clearing the way for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - the method of drilling that's created a natural gas boom in the United States. State lawmakers have tasked the state Mining and Energy Commission with developing rules to govern the process. Earlier this week the commission voted on what's often considered the "first rule" of fracking - it's called chemical disclosure and it determines what drilling companies have to tell the government about the fluids that get pumped into the ground during the process.

John Murawski is the Raleigh News and Observer's energy reporter. He's been following the commission's work, and he joined us by telephone.


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Science & Environment
5:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Factory Delays Push Back Construction At SC Nuclear Plant

The construction site at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Jenkinsville, S.C. in August, 2013.
Credit South Carolina Office of Regulatory Service

Construction on some of the first nuclear plants in decades has suffered delays but is recovering ground, regulators of the project say.  The two new reactors at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, South Carolina will take more than six months longer than projected, at a potential cost of $200 million. The regulators blame a new building process for the delays, but do not rule out ratepayers covering the cost.

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