Energy & Environment

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

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Amy Brown of Belmont lives near Duke's Allen Steam Station and has been receiving bottled water since 2015. She spoke at a rally in March.
David Boraks / WFAE

This week Governor Pat McCrory's office accused a state toxicologist of lying under oath. That came after that toxicologist testified in a lawsuit to force Duke Energy to remove coal ash from one of its North Carolina plants. The testimony has ignited another round of debate over whether well water near Duke coal plants is safe to drink. WFAE environmental reporter David Boraks talked with All Things Considered host Lisa Worf about the news.   

Profits at Duke Energy were lower in the second quarter compared with a year ago, mainly because of a write-down as it prepares to sell its international business. But executives say Duke's main U.S. operations are strong.

Drawing shows design for the W.S. Lee Nuclear Plant in Cherokee County, S.C.
Westinghouse Electric Co./Duke Energy

Duke Energy is another step closer to winning approval to build a new nuclear power plant in South Carolina. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday it has completed the final safety evaluation for the proposed William States Lee plant in Cherokee, near Gaffney.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

 A beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer has killed hundreds of ash trees at two land preserves in Lincoln County. The beetles have been in North Carolina since 2013 and are spreading across the state. 

Illustration of Duke Energy's $1 billion project, which calls for two new gas-fired units in Asheville. The current coal-fired plant will be retired by 2020.
Duke Energy

 Updated 4:55 p.m.
Regulators have dismissed an appeal by two environmental groups that wanted to halt a Duke Energy power plant project in Asheville. The N.C. Utilities Commission says NC WARN and The Climate Times failed to post a $98 million bond required for the appeal.

But the battle may not be over. The environmental groups say they'll take the issue to the state Court of Appeals.  

Map shows high temperatures for the mid-Atlantic region. Bright yellow signals temperatures in the 90s.
National Weather Service

With temperatures soaring last week, Duke Energy customers in North and South Carolina set a record for summertime energy use. Duke says customers used 20,671 megawatt hours of electricity between 4 and 5 pm on Wednesday, July 27. That beat the previous record of 20,628 megawatts set in 2007.

David Boraks / WFAE

If you're on a North Carolina mountaintop on a sunny day this summer, expect a great view…  maybe the clearest in decades. State environmental officials say it’s the payoff from years of air quality improvements.

 A geologist with decades of expertise in climate change and coastal erosion has resigned from the state science advisory panel he helped found. Stan Riggs says politics have made the panel "ineffective."

WFAE

The heat is back, and that's pushing power plants to the limit. Duke Energy is testing a new way to trim demand – with a competition that challenges customers to turn off the A/C on days when electricity demand is highest. Monday was one of those days. 

State regulators wrapped up a two-day public hearing in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon on the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas. The two-day hearing included testimony from company leaders and a protest by merger opponents.

Executives including CEOs Lynn Good of Duke and Thomas Skains of Piedmont argued the $6.7 billion deal would create a stronger company and speed Duke's shift toward cleaner-burning natural gas.

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