Energy & Environment

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

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duke solar projects in NC map
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has put out a call to renewable energy developers for new projects in the western part of the state. It's part of the company's push to meet a state mandate to generate more energy from sources other than fossil fuels.

Duke is close to announcing coal-ash basin closure plans for a half-dozen plants, including the Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman.
David Boraks / WFAE

New EPA rules require power plant operators nationwide to rate the safety risks of coal ash dams and say how they plan to clean up coal ash basins. Here in the Carolinas, Duke Energy has begun publishing some information. But closure plans won't be made public until next month.

A lab technician handles water samples in June 2016 at Charlotte Water's laboratory off Billy Graham Parkway.
David Boraks / WFAE

Tests required by state and federal regulators have found no problems with lead or copper in Charlotte's water.  

Charlotte Water tested a total of 164 homes built before 1985, when lead was banned in plumbing. Just six had detectable lead levels, but all were below the federal EPA action level, according to Charlotte Water.

A worker at the U.S. National Whitewater Center releases chlorine into the basin below the rafting channel in July.
Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County commissioners Tuesday night unanimously approved water-quality regulations for the U.S. National Whitewater Center. That follows an Ohio teenager's death this summer from a rare brain infection she contracted after rafting at the center. 

The Neuse River inundated this hog farm in Goldsboro on Wednesday.
Rick Dove / Waterkeeper Alliance

Floodwaters in eastern North Carolina are still rising, but so far haven't swamped any of Duke Energy's active coal ash ponds. But environmentalists worry about older, dry, coal-ash basins that did flood. And they're concerned about how animal waste and dead livestock will affect water quality.

A 50-foot section of a cooling pond dam broke at Duke Energy's plant on the Neuse River in Goldsboro. The company says coal ash ponds are not in danger.
Travis Graves / Lower Neuse Riverkeeper

Forty-eight counties have seen flooding from Hurricane Matthew, and waters are still rising in some areas. State officials are watching dams, checking reports of chemical and fuel spills, and starting to count crop and livestock losses.

Duke Energy owns eight hydroelectric plants like this one in southeastern Brazil.
Duke Energy

Updated 7:24 p.m.

Duke Energy is getting out of the electricity generating business outside the U.S., through a pair of deals  announced Monday worth $2.4 billion total.

Buck Steam Station closed in 2013. Coal ash is stored in basins around the retired plant.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has agreed to remove about 5 million tons of coal ash in three massive dumps from the Buck Steam Station near Salisbury, and recycle it for use in concrete.  The agreement settles a federal lawsuit filed two years ago against Duke by the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of environmental groups.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved Duke Energy's $6.7 billion purchase of Piedmont Natural Gas - the final approval needed for the merger. The companies said Thursday they expect to close the deal on Monday, Oct. 3.

dan river coal ash cleanup
David Boraks / WFAE

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says coal ash ponds and landfills disproportionately affect poor and minority communities across the U.S. But that’s not what North Carolina officials found when they conducted their own “environmental justice reviews” of two sites this year.

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