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Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

Regulators OK Solar Sites In Union, Davie Counties

Companies would be able to contract for solar or wind power with third parties under the new Duke Energy program.

Duke Energy says state regulators have approved construction of two new solar farms - a 60-megawatt project in Union County, and a 15.4-megawatt facility in Davie County.  Duke says both will be generating electricity by year's end.

The utility also is awaiting approval on another project near Salisbury, which also could begin operating later this year.  

All three projects will feed Duke's regulated electric power network in North Carolina. The company faces a state mandate to shift at least 12.5 percent of its electricity production to renewable sources by 2021.

The Union County facility will be on 400 acres at 2272 South Rocky River Road, near Monroe. Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar will design and build it.

In Mocksville, the new solar farm will be on about 110 acres at 197 Crawford Road. Crowder Construction of Charlotte will lead the construction.

"These projects are part of our planned expansion of solar in North Carolina," Rob Caldwell, Duke's senior vice president of Distributed Energy Resources, said in a press release. "With the state third in the nation for installed solar power, we are committed to growing renewable energy in a sustainable way that benefits all customers."


See Duke's press release about the approval, at http://news.duke-energy.com/

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.