Energy & Environment

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

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A deep freeze in January, which included a mid-month snow storm, pushed electricity use in North Carolina to record highs, says Duke Energy.
David Boraks / WFAE

Thanks to unusually low temperatures, January is turning out to be a record month for electricity use in North Carolina.  It also could mean higher bills for customers, according to Duke Energy. 

Map shows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's proposed route through eastern North Carolina. It will orginate in West Virginia and run through Virginia as well.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Updated 6:35 p.m.
North Carolina environmental regulators have issued a key water permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It's one of the last permits needed before construction begins in the state.

Deborah Graham of Salisbury waits her turn to address the NC Utilities Commisssion. She lived near a Duke Energy storage pit and opposes the company's rate hike request to pay for coal ash cleanup.
Keri Brownn / WFDD

State regulators got an earful from residents who say they don’t want to pay for costs associated with coal ash cleanup across the state. The North Carolina Utilities Commission held a public hearing in Greensboro Wednesday night at the Guilford County Courthouse. The agency is considering a 16.7 percent rate hike request from Duke Energy. That’s around $18 more a month.

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

Duke Energy has proposed a new solar rebate program for homeowners and small businesses in North Carolina - something required as part of the state's new renewable energy law that took effect Jan. 1. 

Coal ash is being excavated from Duke Energy's closed Riverbend coal plant on Mountain Island Lake.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is opposing Duke Energy's request to charge ratepayers for the costs of cleaning up its coal ash dumps around the state.  

A worker delivers bottled water to a home in Belmont, near Duke Energy's Allen coal plant. Duke will provide a permament drinking water supply to well owners by 2018.
David Boraks / WFAE

People who live near Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash dumps on Thursday marked 1,000 days of living on bottled water, amid fears that their wells are contaminated. They're calling on lawmakers to adopt stronger groundwater standards to prevent contamination of private wells. And they want Duke to dig up and secure coal ash statewide - not just at a few sites as now required.

Duke Energy's Marshall Plant on Lake Norman has about 32 million tons of coal ash stored on site.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has agreed to pay an $84,000 fine and will speed up coal ash cleanups at three coal-fired power plants in western North Carolina. The proposed agreement with state environmental regulators deals with pollutants seeping from coal ash ponds near the Marshall plant on Lake Norman, the Allen plant in Gaston County and the Rogers plant in Rutherford County.

Santee Cooper and SCE&G had been adding two reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County.
Santee Cooper

Updated 2:03 p.m.
Virginia's Dominion Energy said Wednesday it will buy embattled South Carolina electric utility SCANA for about $7.9 billion in stock. Dominion also will assume SCANA's debt, making the deal worth a total of $14.6 billion. Dominion also is offering to cut rates for customers of SCANA's South Carolina Electric & Gas subsidiary, and absorb other costs of a failed nuclear project north of Columbia. 

Reactors 3 and 4 under construction at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Ga., in November 2017.
Georgia Power

By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.
Associated Press 

ATLANTA — Georgia's utility regulators are allowing construction to continue on two new nuclear reactors, despite massive cost overruns for the multi-billion-dollar project.

Thursday's unanimous decision by the state's Public Service Commission will shape the future of the nation's nuclear industry, partly because the reactors at Plant Vogtle were the first new ones to be licensed and to begin construction in the U.S. since 1978.

Park rangers would get new radios in the project, which would allow them to communicate directly with nearby public safety agencies - something they can't do now.
National Park Service

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a long list of overdue maintenance projects. Now it's turning to a private partner to help raise money to upgrade the park's outdated radio system. That system lets rangers communicate during routine patrols as well as emergencies, like the wildfires that killed 14 people in east Tennessee a year ago.

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