Energy & Environment

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

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David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina was once a top wine producer - until Prohibition killed the industry. But it's growing again. The North Carolina Wine & Grape Council says the state now has 186 wineries and adds about a dozen new ones a year. Dover Vineyards in Concord is one of those startups.

The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Monday that would ban wind farms across much of the state. The "Military Operations Protection Act," which passed 33-14, would not allow wind turbines in areas with military training flights.

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

Time may be running out for North Carolina lawmakers to reach a compromise on how to update the state's coal ash cleanup law. That's according to the chief sponsor of a bill that Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed last week.

Duke Energy

State regulators will hold a hearing June 17 to help determine whether environmentalists should have to pay a multimillion dollar appeal bond before they challenge approval of a Duke Energy power plant in Asheville. 

 Gov. Pat McCrory has followed through on his threat to veto a bill revising the state's coal ash cleanup law. In a statement Monday night, McCrory said the bill's attempt to revive the Coal Ash Management Commission was unconstitutional. He also said the bill weakens environmental protections.

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

The annual drinking water quality report is out from Charlotte Water, and it shows there’s nothing to worry about here.

dan river coal ash cleanup
David Boraks / WFAE

A superior court judge this week ordered Duke Energy to dig up and remove coal at four North Carolina plants - something it's already doing under the state's 2014 coal ash cleanup law.

Judge Paul Ridgeway ordered excavations of coal ash basins at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly as well as plants on the Dan River, Asheville, and Wilmington.  State regulators had sued Duke in 2013 to seek cleanups at the four plants, and environmental groups later joined the suits.

The state House and Senate on Tuesday both approved a revised bill that would update the 2014 law governing coal ash cleanups at Duke Energy's North Carolina plants. That sets up a battle with Gov. Pat McCrory, who calls the bill unnecessary and irresponsible and vows a veto. 

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

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would give Duke Energy more time and flexibility in cleaning up coal ash at its North Carolina plants. A Duke official said Thursday that Duke needs the change because it can't hit state deadlines for removing the ash at most of its plants.

David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 6:09 p.m.
House lawmakers on Wednesday voted 86-25 to approve a bill that would change the rules for Duke Energy’s cleanups of coal ash across the state. It’s a controversial bill that has drawn the opposition of Gov. Pat McCrory and state regulators.  

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