Energy & Environment

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



Alternative Heat / Flickr /

The federal government’s leading atmospheric research agency published data this week showing 2019 was North Carolina’s hottest year on record.

The project will convert hog waste from Smithfield's plant in Tar Heel, in Bladen County, into biogas to power about 2,000 homes and businesses.
Duke Energy

Smithfield Foods says it's now producing natural gas from hog waste at a plant in Bladen County, in eastern North Carolina.  The $14 million project is a partnership between Smithfield, Duke Energy and Raleigh-based OptimaBio. 

Lyndsey Gilpin / Grist

RICHMOND, Va. — A permit needed to build a natural gas compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia was thrown out Tuesday by a federal court that found the state failed to adequately consider the potential health effects on a historic African American community.

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

Duke Energy says 2020 rebates for new residential and commercial solar installations in North Carolina were taken up quickly after applications opened on Jan. 2. But there's still money left for nonprofits and local governments.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A utility company in South Carolina finished removing all the coal ash from the site of a nearly 50-year-old power plant on the Wateree River.

The work to remove the toxic ash byproduct of making power from burning coal was finished at the Wateree Station east of Columbia more than a year ahead of schedule, Dominion Energy announced earlier this month.

Western trailhead of the Antiquity Greenway, featuring a Carolina Thread Trail "lollipop sign"
Michael Falero / WFAE

A new greenway stretches behind the homes and shops of the Antiquity neighborhood in Cornelius. At the trailhead is a large, elevated walkway that slopes down to a paved, half-mile trail. Eileen Hume and her husband, Darin, were taking a morning walk on the trail recently.

“We kind of watched them build this, and this is absolutely beautiful, but I’m not for sure the official name of it. But it is lovely," Hume said.

Workers pull core samples out of the drill.
David Boraks / WFAE

A company hoping to mine lithium in northern Gaston County has received key state and federal permits for the project and plans to speed up development of a processing plant in Kings Mountain. But it's pushing back the mine's projected opening by a year.

The developer wants to turn the mill into a commercial center that could have shops, restaurants and a brewery.

State environmental officials have given Charlotte developers the preliminary go-ahead to redevelop a former asbestos factory in downtown Davidson. But they still need to overcome the concerns of residents in the historically black neighborhood around the mill. 

water faucet and glass

A new report says North Carolina had the fourth highest budget cuts in the country over the last decade when it comes to environmental protection.

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

The N.C. Division of Waste Management will hold a public meeting Monday night in Davidson to talk about how a former asbestos mill could be cleaned up and redeveloped. 

Historic Carolina Towns Endured Wars, Storms. What About Sea Rise?

Dec 5, 2019
Capt. Michael Wilber / U.S Army National Guard

SWANSBORO — Historic cities and towns along the Southeastern U.S. coast have survived wars, hurricanes, disease outbreaks and other calamities, but now that sea levels are creeping up with no sign of stopping, they face a more existential crisis.

Climate Change Poses Threats To NC Christmas Tree Crop

Dec 5, 2019
Fir trees

Thoughts of Yuletide and climate change don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but the state’s Christmas trees are not immune to the threats.

Duke Energy meter
Duke Energy

State regulators have scheduled public hearings in January on Duke Energy's request to raise rates an average of 6% in its western Carolinas territory, which includes Charlotte. 


When fall arrived this year, it didn't make its entrance with crispy air and cooling temperatures. In fact, the temperature around here was downright summer-like, with some days 10 degrees higher than the average. Plus, there was very little rain for a while. 

Little Sugar Creek Greenway at Brandywine Road, with flags marking the start of the new segment
Michael Falero / WFAE

The City of Charlotte has started construction on a new section of greenway. It’s part of a larger plan for a network of greenways called the Cross Charlotte Trail that will go from the South Carolina border to Cabarrus County. The project had a significant funding shortfall earlier this year, but it’s now back on track.


Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles testified Wednesday in Washington before a U.S. House subcommittee on energy and climate change. 

Hideaway Bay dam
Lisa Worf / WFAE

North Carolina has the country’s second-largest collection of poorly maintained dams built in places where a failure could kill people. That’s according to reporting from The Associated Press that looked at the condition of dams across the United States. 

Federal officials have opened three areas off the N.C. coast for wind farm license. Avangrid Renewables has the license for the northern area, off the Outer Banks.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Gov. Roy Cooper says it's time to end legislative battles over wind energy and make sure it's part of a future clean energy system in North Carolina.

Map shows concentrations of hexavalent chromium in North Carolina, and where concentrations exceed the state standard of 0.07 micrograms per liter. Red areas are where it's likely to be in the highest concentration.
Science of The Total Environment

A Duke University scientist says new data shows dangerous levels of a cancer-causing heavy metal occur naturally across North Carolina, and can be a concern in drinking water wells.

Cycling enthusiast Stephanie Bercht stands in front of the Uptown Cycle Track at the intersection of East Sixth and North Davidson streets.
Michael Falero / WFAE

Cyclists would love to not worry about being hit by vehicles. And drivers would love to not worry about hitting cyclists. Charlotte planners believe a protected bike lane project will make everyone happier and safer on uptown's roads.