Energy & Environment

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

Podcast

RSS

A public hearing starts Monday in Raleigh on Duke Energy's planned acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. Approval by the North Carolina Utilities Commission is the deal's final hurdle. 

Duke announced last October it was buying Piedmont for $6.7 billion. That includes $4.9 billion in cash and taking over $1.8 billion in Piedmont debt. Piedmont has two things Duke wants:  

Trucks move coal ash at Duke's Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman. The company plans to cover ash in place at the plant.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 11 p.m.
Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill that will allow Duke Energy to store coal ash in place permanently at as many as half its plants in North Carolina. The bill also provides a permanent water supply to neighbors of Duke's coal ash ponds. 

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality


  Follow-up tests last week found no arsenic in Mountain Island Lake, according to a report from the state Department of Environmental Quality.  

Tests last month had found arsenic at nearly 10 times federal limits, near where Duke Energy was draining water from coal ash ponds at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly.  

An Alcoa dam on Badin Lake.
Julie Rose / WFAE

Updated 6:15pm
After nearly a century generating power in North Carolina, aluminum maker Alcoa is selling its four hydroelectric dams along the Yadkin River. The buyer is a Maryland company that bills itself as a producer of clean energy.

Duke Energy

 State regulators have delivered another blow to environmentalists trying to block a new power plant in Asheville.  The North Carolina Utilities Commission says two groups must post a $98 million bond before they can appeal.

That's nearly 10 times the amount regulators originally set for an appeal by environmental groups NC WARN and The Climate Times. The commission says the bond is needed to pay Duke Energy's costs if the project is delayed.

Federal energy regulators have rejected Duke Energy's appeal for a longer license to operate dams and reservoirs along the Catawba River. This week's decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, keeps the license term at 40 years, instead of the 50 years Duke had requested.

Coal ash ponds at Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has stopped draining coal ash ponds into Mountain Island Lake after recent county tests found elevated levels of arsenic in the water. State environmental regulators say they’re investigating whether Duke violated state law.

N.C. General Assembly

  A bill that would have banned wind farms across much of North Carolina died when the state legislature adjourned last week, but several lawmakers said Thursday they'll reintroduce it next year.  

Coal ash belmont
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation


 North Carolina lawmakers have sent Governor Pat McCrory a bill that would relax the state's coal ash cleanup law. It passed the House, 82-32, Thursday night and immediately drew criticism from environmentalists.

Coal ash ponds at Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 9:11 p.m.
Lawmakers have reached a compromise with Gov. Pat McCrory on how to revise state law requiring cleanups at Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash sites.  The new bill could let Duke leave ash where it is at some plants, instead of removing it.

Pages