Energy & Environment

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

Podcast

RSS

The Federal Trade Commission has given its OK to Duke Energy's planned acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas, the companies said Tuesday.  

David Boraks / WFAE

Protesters were a fixture outside the recent climate change summit in Paris, calling on world leaders to agree on a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On Wednesday, local activists staged a rally of their own, supporting a new federal plan addressing climate change - and opposing North Carolina’s response. 

Duke Energy plans to add two more solar energy projects to its North Carolina power network next year, as it works to meet state requirements for clean electricity.

The company is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to take over two projects already in development -  a 60-megawatt solar farm in Monroe and a 15.4-megawatt facility in Mocksville, in Davie County.

If approved, construction on both would start in March and be done by the end of 2016. 

Duke Energy Solar farm near Elizabeth City NC
Duke Energy

Corning Inc. is boosting its use of renewable energy in North Carolina through a big solar power deal announced Monday with a division of Charlotte-based Duke Energy.

Duke Energy Renewables began construction earlier this year on an 80-megawatt solar farm in Conetoe, east of Rocky Mount in eastern North Carolina. When it’s finished later this month, it will be the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi.

David Boraks / WFAE

Water use around the nation and in the Southeast is unsustainable, and it may already be too late to avoid long-term effects, says a NASA water scientist who spoke in Charlotte Tuesday night.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Workers have mostly contained a 1,000-gallon diesel spill from an uptown office building into Little Sugar Creek last week. The spill affected birds and turtles along the waterway, and county officials say they’re studying whether to issue a fine.

Duke Energy Solar farm near Elizabeth City NC
Duke Energy

Duke Energy and Google announced a deal Tuesday that will supply Google's Lenoir data center with power from a new solar farm under development in Rutherford County. Duke says the 61-megawatt facility being developed by Rutherford Solar LLC will be one of North Carolina's largest.

Under the deal, Duke Energy will buy power from the new solar project, and re-sell it to Google. The partnership is the first through Duke's Green Source Rider program, which supplies renewable energy to non-residential customers. The project's cost won't be passed on to the utility's other customers.

David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy is the nation’s largest power company, supplying electricity to more than 7 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest. But for the past six years, the Charlotte company also has been quietly building a separate startup business that sells wind and solar power to other utilities and businesses.

Duke Energy Changes Power Plan For Western NC

Nov 4, 2015
www.duke-energy.com

In response to a flood of criticism, Duke Energy is changing its plan to power the western Carolinas.  It's still replacing a coal plant in Asheville with natural gas, but the company will not build a transmission line through the mountains.

Duke Energy received more than 9,000 comments on the project, and much of the outcry focused on the transmission line.

Southern Environmental Law Center attorney D.J. Gerken says the large power line would've been a visual scar that cut through conservation lands and fragmented habitats.   

http://1.usa.gov/1PNZd0E / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s been nearly 70 years since a species of fish called the Lake Sturgeon has been found in North Carolina waters. Experts say it’s a fish with a long history.  

“The lake sturgeon is a very ancient breed of fish,” says Stephen Jackson, a hatchery manager with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in eastern North Carolina. “They were around during the dinosaurs and actually predate many of the dinosaurs that we’re very familiar with.” 

NC, Duke Energy Settle Lawsuit Over Coal Ash Pollution

Sep 29, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

In North Carolina, what started with a record state fine over one coal ash facility is now ending with a much smaller price tag that'll cover all of Duke Energy's coal ash facilities. The state environmental department announced Tuesday it's settling the lawsuit, in part because of conflicting guidance from the McCrory and Perdue administrations on fines.

Conservation Fund

Apple, Inc. is partnering with a conservation group to protect 3,600 acres of forest land in North Carolina’s Brunswick County.

Apple is working with the Virginia-based Conservation Fund to protect a working forest in Brunswick County from development. Working forests are managed to sustainably produce timber while also providing recreational opportunities and protecting wildlife habitats.

Ag Officials Fear Avian Flu Headed To NC

Sep 2, 2015
USDA

North Carolina agriculture officials are warning poultry farmers to prepare for the avian flu this fall. The virus has already wreaked havoc in northern poultry states, and the worry is that it will travel south.

NC Senate Votes To Oppose EPA Carbon Plan

Aug 5, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

The North Carolina Senate does not like the Obama administration’s sweeping new rule to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate voted Wednesday to restrict state compliance with the law and to sue the administration.   

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, along with many Republican governors, opposes the carbon rule taking effect and has said he plans a lawsuit. The Senate bill requires one.

In the meantime, it orders state environment officials not to take the first step of the rule, developing a plan for cutting carbon emissions by about a third.

McCrory Will Sue EPA Over Carbon Rule

Aug 4, 2015
Governor's office

Republican administrations across the country have opposed the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon emissions since it was first announced, and North Carolina is no exception. 


Charlotte Reaches EPA Ozone Standard, For Now

Jul 29, 2015
2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Charlotte’s air quality no longer violates federal standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says ozone readings now meet levels consistent with its 2008 rule. However, the improved rating may not last long.


Drought Takes Hold In 20 North Carolina Counties

Jul 16, 2015
North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council

For the first time since 2012, a substantial part of North Carolina entered the first stages of drought this month, including Mecklenburg County.


Report Illustrates NC's Unique Solar Energy Makeup

Jul 10, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina produces more solar energy than any state except California, but a new report ranks Charlotte near the bottom of major cities for solar installations.


Federal Judge Rejects State Lawsuit Against EPA

Jul 9, 2015

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources against its federal counterpart.

In December 2013, the state challenged new, tighter limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for air pollution the size of smoke particles or smaller. Cars, refineries, factories, and power plants—especially coal plants—emit this particulate matter.

Most Duke Plants Ready For EPA Mercury Rule Anyway

Jun 30, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

A federal rule to lower mercury, arsenic, lead, and other potentially toxic heavy metals from power plants lies in limbo after a Supreme Court decision Monday. But in the Carolinas, the practical effect will be minimal.


Pages