Energy/Environment

Local News
11:19 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Solar Industry, Advocates Divided Over Rooftop Solar Bill

Credit Elliot Brown / Flickr

North Carolina put more solar power online last year than any state other than California. But companies or homeowners wanting to put solar panels on their roofs face major restrictions. State lawmakers have introduced a bill to change that. It’s drawing opposition from Duke Energy, but also dividing solar advocates.


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Local News
11:44 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

NC Science Panel Revisits Sea Level Rise

Credit Megha Punjani / Flickr

A state science panel predicts sea level could rise off the coast by an average of seven inches over the next 30 years. The report is the first from the science panel, since state lawmakers blocked an earlier version that predicted extreme effects.


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Local News
10:00 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Crowd-Sourced Weather Program Provides 'Hyper-Local' Data

The CoCoRaHS rain gauge.
Credit Henry Reges/ CoCoRaHS

There’s a network in the U.S. of thousands of volunteers who put a rain gauge in their yards and report the readings online every day---rain or shine.

This group’s mission is to provide hyper-local weather data to meteorologists, farmers, emergency managers and other government agencies. It’s called CoCoRaHS (pronounced ko-ko-RAZ). The name may sound more appropriate for a chocolatey breakfast cereal, but it stands for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network. 

WFAE's Duncan McFadyen spoke to the state director of CoCoRaHS, David Glenn. He's a meteriologist for the National Weather Service in Newport, in the eastern part of North Carolina.


Business
8:30 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Duke Energy Execs Have Bonuses Cut After Coal Ash Spill

Duke Energy will dock its top executives 35% of bonus pay after coal ash spill
Credit Courtesy of Duke Energy

The 2014 bonuses for five of Duke Energy’s top executives were cut by 35 percent. This is response, the company says, to last year’s coal ash spill into the Dan River. 

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Local News
4:33 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

New Sustainable Project Will Turn Banana Peels Into Electricity

The site for the bio-gas plant is on Johnson Road in Charlotte.
Credit Lucy Perkins / WFAE

A new energy project in Charlotte will use food scraps to power 3,000 homes in the Charlotte area. A Nevada company called Bluesphere will convert organic waste into electricity. 

Think banana peels. That’s basically what organic waste is, along with other food we throw out. The bio-gas plant will take the leftovers we don’t use, and accelerate the fermentation process.

"What happens normally in six months we concentrate in 30 days," says Alex Massone, the CEO of Austep -- an Italian company behind the technology.

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Local News
4:20 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Meeting Canceled, Coal Ash Commission Uncertain After Court Decision

A plastic box contains coal ash.
Credit Alexia Gyorody / WFAE

The commission overseeing North Carolina’s clean-up of coal ash around the state has canceled its upcoming meeting, because of a court decision that has called the group’s legitimacy into question.


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Local News
11:30 am
Wed March 11, 2015

State Charges Duke Energy Record Fine Over Coal Ash

Duke Energy's Sutton Plant, near Wilmington.
Credit Duke Energy

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the largest fine in its history, against Duke Energy. The agency fined Duke $25 million for pollution from coal ash at its Sutton Lake coal plant, near Wilmington.


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Local News
8:03 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Falling Earnings And A Coal Ash Settlement: Upbeat News For Duke Energy?

Duke Energy saw earnings fall last year, and it expects lower earnings than analysts have projected next year. Still, many on the company’s earnings call Wednesday were upbeat.


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Local News
12:31 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Charlotte Storm Water Problems Outpace Fixes, Budget

Construction crews at the bottom of this hole dig a tunnel underneath Morehead Street, where they will lay new storm water pipe.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Just south of Morehead Street in Dilworth, construction crews work in an enormous hole, 30-feet wide and 30-feet deep. Wood slats and metal bands support the walls, like the inside of the world’s largest wine barrel. A pump sucks a pool of storm water out of the bottom. Cranes and dump trucks surround the hole, while a small machine tunnels at the bottom, moving forward about four feet per day.

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Local News
6:43 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

New Purchase Puts Duke Energy In Rooftop Solar Business

An IKEA in Sweetwater, Florida uses a solar array installed by REC Solar.
Credit REC Solar

Duke Energy has expanded its investment in solar energy, and will enter a new facet of the industry: solar panels on the roofs of businesses.


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