Energy & Environment

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

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Duke Energy building
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy lost $817 million in the second quarter as it wrote off $2 billion in costs related to the shutdown of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.  

Workers are grading the median on the Monroe Expressway north of Monroe.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina environmental groups say they’re concerned by changes the Trump administration is making to one of the country’s cornerstone environmental laws. 

Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

A new study says Charlotte’s tree canopy declined significantly between 2012 and 2018, with residential development the biggest cause of widespread tree loss in the city.

Gov. Roy Cooper
NC Department of Public Safety

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday resisted calls to rescind an executive order that bans utility shutoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic. State Treasurer Dale Folwell says it's hurting small co-ops and municipally owned utilities. 

Duke, Dominion Cancel Contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Jul 5, 2020
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. — The developers of the long-delayed, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced the cancellation of the multi-state natural gas project Sunday, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation.

Supreme Court Clears Way For Atlantic Coast Pipeline Permit

Jun 15, 2020
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a critical permit for a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cross under the Appalachian Trail, siding with the Trump administration and the pipeline's builders, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy.

Flickr/cheriejoyful / Flickr

An annual ranking of 100 city park systems around the country has again placed Charlotte near the bottom, though the Queen City saw some small improvements.

Brett Dupree searches for the overcup oak near McDowell Nature Preserve
Michael Falero / WFAE

Charlotte's rapid development in the past 20 years has threatened the city’s tree canopy, with at least 400 total acres lost since 2012. Among those lost are some of Charlotte’s biggest trees, and now there's an effort to track down a number of the city’s historic "treasure trees."

Duke Energy has given utility workers masks and other protective measures as they respond to calls during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy plans to slash up to $450 million in expenses this year as it responds to a drop in electricity use because of the coronavirus outbreak. That includes a hiring freeze, cuts in outside contractors and overtime, and plant outages. 

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good faced questions at the Charlotte-based company's annual meeting Thursday from shareholders concerned that the company isn't reducing the use of fossil fuels fast enough. 

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County got good grades again in 2019.
David Boraks / WFAE

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County met federal standards again in 2019, and regular testing also found no problems with unregulated chemicals. 

The Monroe solar farm, on about 400 acres off South Rocky River Road, has about 684,000 solar panels.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has set a goal of doubling the renewable energy it produces or buys by 2025. The new target is in the company's annual sustainability report out Tuesday.

We're Driving Less. So How's The Air?

Apr 25, 2020
The Charlotte Ledger

Several weeks into the nearly worldwide stay-at-home orders, we’re living a real-life experiment about economics and our planet. New data and images show a dramatic improvement in the air quality in several parts of the world.

The Metrolina Warehouse in Davidson was an asbestos factory from 1930 to 1960.
David Boraks / WFAE

State and federal environmental officials say they will test more properties in Davidson for asbestos in the coming months. That's after residents in the historically African American West Side neighborhood raised concerns at a community meeting back in January. 

Duke Energy has seven coal-fired power plants in the Carolinas, including the Allen Steam Station in Belmont.
DAVID BORAKS / WFAE

A group of commercial energy users wants Duke Energy to waive fixed monthly fees during the coronavirus pandemic. Duke says it's willing to work with customers individually, but the fees are needed to keep its power network running.

Duke has offered $62 milllion in rebates over five years to help pay for solar panels on a home, business or nonprofit rooftops.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is asking North Carolina regulators for permission to take solar rebate applications twice a year, instead of once. That's after a surge of applications on Jan. 2 overwhelmed the company's servers and led to confusion over who should get the first-come, first-served rebates.

CATS currently has 56 hybrid diesel-electric buses like this one, but no battery electric buses yet.
David Boraks / WFAE

The city of Charlotte has established ambitious sustainability goals to become a low-carbon city by 2030. But the CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System says he doesn’t think CATS will meet that deadline.

activist and Belmont resident Amy Brown.
Michael Falero / WFAE

About 45 residents showed up for a public hearing Thursday night in Belmont. They asked questions about Duke's plans to transfer coal ash from the Allen Steam Station to new, lined landfills.

Conrad Erb.

An art installation that visualizes pollution in the air we breathe returns to Charlotte this weekend for a month-long residency.

Duke Energy's solar rebates help homeowners, businesses and nonprofits pay for the cost of installation.
RENU ENERGY SOLUTIONS

Solar advocates and dozens of consumers are asking state regulators to investigate after Duke Energy's online system for solar rebates crashed shortly after applications opened Jan. 2. 

Love Is In The Air – And Red Wolf Conservationists Are Taking Note

Feb 17, 2020
Will Melfi / UNC Media Hub

Joe Madison, hands in his pockets, eyes the fresh tracks in the sand with keen interest. “They may have been here since this morning,” he says.

Duke Energy building
David Boraks / WFAE

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.

Orange line shows the boundary of the Bradford Farm conservation easement, which is being added to the Ramah Creek Conservation Area in north Mecklenburg.
Catawba Lands Conservancy

One of Mecklenburg County's oldest, continuously operating farms will be preserved under an agreement announced this week by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. 

Duke Energy's Marshall Plant on Lake Norman has about 32 million tons of coal ash stored on site.
David Boraks / WFAE

A judge in Wake County has approved a settlement between state environmental officials, environmental groups and Duke Energy that requires Duke to dig up nearly 80 million tons of coal ash at six plants around the state.  

A researcher at the Duke University laboratory that tested samples from water filters in central and southeastern North Carolina.
Duke University

There's lots of concern these days about new and unregulated chemicals in drinking water across North Carolina. A new study from Duke and North Carolina State universities finds many home water filters may not be protecting you from these compounds. 

 


 

Work has begun on a new artificial reef off the North Carolina coast. The 162-acre underwater site is located about 7 miles south of Oregon Inlet sea buoy off Dare County.  

 

People attending the North Carolina Utilities Commission public hearing for Duke's rate increase wave green cards to agree with a speaker instead of applauding.
Michael Falero / WFAE

Opponents of Duke Energy’s request for a proposed 6% rate increase in Western North Carolina dominated a public hearing in Charlotte on Thursday night.

Updated 5:34 p.m.
The town of Davidson is restricting access to a town park after tests found asbestos in several locations. Town officials say the asbestos at Roosevelt Wilson Park off Griffith Street is from the former Carolina Asbestos mill nearby. 

Caught Off Guard: The American Southeast Struggles With Climate Change

Jan 27, 2020

Like hundreds of other cities, Louisville, Kentucky, is searching for a path to address climate change. Mayor Greg Fischer has declared a climate emergency, proposed a climate action plan and set a goal of reducing citywide carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. 

Gov. Roy Cooper (seated) signed Executive Order 80 in 2018 at SAS Institute's solar farm in Cary.  With him were DEQ Secretary Michael Regan (right) and SAS executive Jerry Williams.
NCDEQ

With the federal government's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, state and local governments in North Carolina have set their own ambitious goals for addressing climate change. Now, they're puzzling over how to carry out the big changes needed to reach those goals - such as switching to electric vehicles and shifting to more renewable energy. At least for now, it's still mostly data-gathering and discussion. 

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