Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy has taken about a fifth of the power it can generate off-line in North Carolina, as part of what the energy industry calls “outage season.”

Eighty-seven homes near Duke Energy coal ash ponds around North Carolina have well-water contaminated with heavy metals, according to state environmental regulators.

The debate over what offshore drilling would mean for North Carolina played out before a U.S. House subcommittee Wednesday. In the red corner, North Carolina's governor. In the blue corner, a commissioner from a small beach town.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.