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Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

Duke Energy Profits Up; Atlantic Coast Pipeline Costs Rise, Too

Duke Energy building
David Boraks
Duke Energy headquarters in Charlotte

Duke Energy turned a profit of $660 million for the last three months of 2019, up 42% from a year ago. Duke attributed the growth in part to new investments in electric and gas plants and new renewable energy projects that came online.

Duke CEO Lynn Good told analysts Thursday the company expects profits to keep growing at 4 to 6% a year through at least 2024.  And the company plans to expand its program of investments in new plants and the electric grid, she said. 

"Investing in the grid, generating cleaner energy, and expanding natural gas infrastructure are critical to the customers and communities we serve and will create meaningful shareholder value for the next decade and beyond," she said.  

Duke reported earnings per share of 91 cents during the quarter, excluding one-time expenses. That beat the 88-cent average estimate of Wall Street estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.

Profits for all of 2019 rose to $3.75 billion, up 40% from 2018, while revenues were up, too, to $25.1 billion. Revenues and profits rose across all three of Duke's businesses -- electricity, gas, and commercial renewable energy, which sells wind and solar power to other businesses and institutions. 

Pipeline Costs Rise 

Meanwhile, the projected cost of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has grown by another half-billion dollars, to $8 billion, amid ongoing legal battles over key environmental permits. That's according to Duke and Dominion Energy of Virginia, which co-own the project.

But both companies say they expect to win the legal challenges and to begin generating profits from the pipeline this year.

Dominion also said this week it has bought out the pipeline's third partner, the Southern Company of Atlanta. That leaves Dominion with 53% ownership, Duke with 47%. 

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