Energy & Environment

News and information about energy, environment or both from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 

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Air quality in the Carolinas has improved in recent years, thanks to environmental laws.
David Boraks / WFAE

The American Lung Association's annual air quality report is out. It gives good grades overall for air quality in the Carolinas, though some cities saw slight increases in bad air days between 2014 and 2016 - the latest data available.

NC WARN owns the solar panels it installed on Faith Community Church in Greensboro, and had been selling electricity to the church. But it has stopped the sales, after an order by regulators.
NC WARN

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether it's legal for anyone other than a public utility to sell electricity in North Carolina.

Rebates would help pay for solar panels on a rooftop
Elliot Brown / Flickr

Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each beginning this summer for installing solar panels on their homes.  The four-year, $62 million rebate program was approved by state regulators last week. It's required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina.

A dam holding back a coal ash pond sits beside the Catawba River, in Gaston County.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 1:45 p.m.
The state Environmental Management Commission has finalized a $156,000 fine and ordered Duke Energy to speed up work to contain leaks at coal ash ponds at three North Carolina plants. That's under a consent order approved Thursday by the state Environmental Management Commission in Raleigh.

Duke Energy plans to excavate coal ash from this and other basins at the Buck plant in Salisbury, then reprocess it for use in concrete and other construction materials.
Duke Energy

State environmental regulators are gathering comments on a proposed air quality permit that would let Duke Energy reprocess and recycle coal ash stored at the Buck plant in Salisbury, North Carolina. The 30-day public comment period wraps up with a public hearing Tuesday night.  

The hog waste is processed into pipeline-quality gas in this converter in Kenansville, Duplin County. It's run by a company called Optima KV.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy last week began generating electricity in eastern North Carolina with natural gas from a new source: hog waste. It helps Duke meet a state mandate, while benefiting farmers, too.

David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy says it could completely phase out coal-fired power plants by 2050. By then, the utility expects to be generating electricity through a mix of other sources, including nuclear and gas-fired plants, and wind and solar farms.  That possible scenario came in a special Climate Report to Shareholders published Thursday.

Piedmont Natural Gas rates are ticking down slightly, thanks to strong sales in recent months, according to a filing Friday with state regulators. 

Duke CEO Lynn Good
Duke Energy

Duke Energy said its top executive's compensation has more than doubled over the past two years. 

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. — Civic leaders in town after town along the 600-mile (966-kilometer) route of a proposed natural gas project have posed for similar photographs, smiling and accepting poster-sized checks from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

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