Energy & Environment

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

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The Allen plant in Belmont
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has withdrawn a request for state permission to use an additive at its coal-fired power plants that caused problems two years ago with Charlotte's drinking water. Environmental groups had sued, and celebrated the move. Duke said its decision was unrelated to the challenge.

dan river coal ash cleanup
David Boraks / WFAE

Dozens of insurance companies say they're not obligated to help pay for Duke Energy Corp.'s multi-billion dollar coal ash cleanup because the nation's largest electric company long knew about but did nothing to reduce the threat of potentially toxic pollutants.

The proposed unit would add 400 megawatts of generating capacity at the plant near Denver.
Siemens

Duke Energy is asking state regulators for permission to expand its gas-fired turbine power plant in Lincoln County.  Duke says the project is needed to meet a growing demand for electricity during winter and summer months.  

Reedy Creek To Receive $7 Million Restoration

Jun 6, 2017
reedycreekrestoration.com

The Reedy Creek Nature Preserve in northeast Charlotte is set to receive a $7 million facelift – the largest restoration project Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services has ever done.

Gareth Rasberry / Wiki Commons

What’s 14 feet long, 500 pounds, and could be hunted for the first time in almost 45 years? Alligators. The Wildlife Resources Commission reports the alligator population is growing in southeastern North Carolina and is considering lifting a hunting ban on them as soon as September 2018. 

Duke Energy Solar farm near Elizabeth City NC
Duke Energy

A trade association representing energy organizations in the Carolinas say President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Accord will have little immediate effect on local energy companies.

A bicycle commuter on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte.
David Boraks / WFAE

Do you drive to and from work in the Charlotte area? Several local groups are promoting a bit of a competition this month called the Clean Commute Challenge. Charlotte Area Transit System, Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte Air Awareness are asking drivers to look for alternatives during the month of June.   

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Today marks the beginning of what’s predicted to be a busy hurricane season. Scott Sharp, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, says it’s likely North Carolina will see another Hurricane Matthew-sized storm this year.

“Those two ingredients – a little less wind shear aloft and abundant warm water - will indicate that we will have a little bit more active season than we would normally have," says Sharp.

http://charlottenc.gov / City of Charlotte

Move over cankerworm. There’s a new pest on the block. The Emerald Ash Borer, known for killing ash trees, has arrived in Charlotte. First spotted in North Carolina in 2013, Assistant City Arborist Laurie Reid says it was only a matter of time before the beetle made its way to Mecklenburg and neighboring counties. 

Drawing shows design for the W.S. Lee Nuclear Plant in Cherokee County, S.C.
Westinghouse Electric Co./Duke Energy

North Carolina regulators want Duke Energy to account for what it has spent on a South Carolina nuclear power plant that is facing new doubts after the company that was supposed to supply the reactors filed for bankruptcy.

The $180 million project would include a 21-mile pipeline from Norwood, in Stanly County, to Union County.
Union County

The state Environmental Management Commission says Union County should be allowed to draw water from Lake Tillery on the Yadkin River to supply new users as its population grows.

Updated 3:07 p.m.
Warmer winter weather slowed Duke Energy's electricity sales in the first three months of the year. But profits still rose slightly, and executives say overall Duke is growing.  During the first quarter, the company also logged expenses from its October merger with Piedmont Natural Gas, and saw international revenues disappear, after the December sale of its Latin American operations.

Here's the web screen where investors watched Thursday's Duke annual meeting.
Duke-Energy.com

Duke Energy shareholders elected directors and voted on other questions Thursday at the company's first virtual annual meeting. Ballots and questions for the CEO were submitted in advance, or by clicking a button on a special web page.

Duke CEO Lynn Good sat on a blue-curtained set and looked toward the camera as she opened the meeting at an undisclosed location.

Duke Energy's annual meeting is Thursday, but don't try to go to uptown Charlotte and vote your shares. This year’s meeting will be at a secret location, beamed to shareholders via telephone and internet. Protesters say they'll be at Duke's headquarters anyway.  

Duke imploded its retired Sutton coal-fired plant in 2016.
Duke Energy

President Donald Trump wants to revive the coal industry and bring back coal jobs. But big coal buyers like Duke Energy are moving in the opposite direction. Duke's annual sustainability report calls for continuing to invest in cleaner energy sources, like natural gas and solar power. 

Blue sky over uptown Charlotte
David Boraks / WFAE

An annual report out this week shows air quality in North Carolina and other southeastern states is continuing to improve. Federal and state laws have made the difference, but there's concern lawmakers may try to weaken those rules. 

A worker mows Tim Mascara's lawn on Sloan Street in Davidson. Workers wet the grass and wore protective gear because of concern over asbestos.
Courtesy of Tim Mascara

There was a strange sight in Davidson a few weeks ago – workers in white suits mowing lawns. It’s part of a $3 million asbestos cleanup by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at about 20 homes and other properties around an old mill.

Charlotte is known as a tree city, with lush neighborhoods and even tree-lined downtown streets, like College Street.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte has a goal of having trees cover 50 percent of the city by 2050. But a report out this month says the city may have trouble hitting that goal, as trees disappear faster than they can be planted.

The 10-year plan includes upgrading power lines and systems across Duke's North Carolina grid.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy plans to spend an extra $13 billion over the next decade to modernize the power lines and systems that distribute electricity in North Carolina. The upgrades include burying lines, adding technology to reduce outages, and giving customers more energy efficiency tools. 

An Alcoa dam on Badin Lake.
Julie Rose / WFAE

North Carolina's lawsuit over ownership of the Yadkin riverbed isn't over, even though a federal appeals court ruled against the state this week. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein says the state will ask for a re-hearing of the case before all 15 judges at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

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