Energy & Environment

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

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State Charges Duke Energy Record Fine Over Coal Ash

Mar 11, 2015
Duke Energy

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the largest fine in its history, against Duke Energy. The agency fined Duke $25 million for pollution from coal ash at its Sutton Lake coal plant, near Wilmington.


Charlotte Storm Water Problems Outpace Fixes, Budget

Feb 11, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Just south of Morehead Street in Dilworth, construction crews work in an enormous hole, 30-feet wide and 30-feet deep. Wood slats and metal bands support the walls, like the inside of the world’s largest wine barrel. A pump sucks a pool of storm water out of the bottom. Cranes and dump trucks surround the hole, while a small machine tunnels at the bottom, moving forward about four feet per day.

REC Solar

Duke Energy has expanded its investment in solar energy, and will enter a new facet of the industry: solar panels on the roofs of businesses.


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The Obama administration has released its latest plan for oil and gas drilling off-shore the United States. It excludes restricts Alaska, but opens up parts of the Atlantic Ocean, including off the coast of North Carolina.


While North Carolina is ramping up to close coal ash ponds around the state, removal is already underway in South Carolina, and—at one site—ahead of schedule.

South Carolina electric utility Santee Cooper entered a settlement with environmental groups in 2013, to get its coal ash—which can contain arsenic and lead—out of storage ponds near public waters.

Lower-income customers of Duke Energy in North Carolina can now apply for energy-saving upgrades to their homes. A $20 million program funded by Duke Energy opened this week, the result of a deal Duke agreed to when it last raised rates.


Strata Solar

North Carolina energy regulators quietly released one of their most significant, long-awaited decisions of 2014, just as the year was ending. The state Utilities Commission had spent nearly the entire year re-evaluating the rules for solar energy. On Wednesday, the commission decided to leave substantially intact the rules which have underlied a solar energy boom in North Carolina.

Power Companies Reach Rooftop Solar Agreement In SC

Dec 12, 2014
Rebates would help pay for solar panels on a rooftop
Elliot Brown / Flickr

Electric utilities and solar energy developers across the U.S. have clashed over how much the utilities should have to pay for the energy supplied to them by homeowners with solar panels. In South Carolina, the sides reached an agreement Friday and both are claiming a win.


Duke Energy

Slow energy demand and carbon emission cuts are putting major pressure on the power industry, a top Duke Energy executive said today. Chief Financial Officer Steve Young spoke at a Wells Fargo energy conference about challenges facing coal, solar, wind, and nuclear energy.


Duke Energy Mulling Fracking Investment

Dec 4, 2014
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is exploring the option of entering the fracking business. While the company says it has not made any decisions, it would mark a departure from Duke’s usual operations.

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

North Carolina has taken measures since the 1970s to control the top water contaminant in the state, the dirt that pours into rivers and lakes from human activity. But a review of state records reveals a sharp drop-off in enforcement over the past five years and a series of warnings to lawmakers that have gone unheeded.


EPA Could Force Rethink Of NC Coal Ash Work

Nov 17, 2014
Appalachian Voices

North Carolina lawmakers, regulators, and media have spent nine months considering what to do about coal ash, but an upcoming federal rule could nullify much of the planned clean-up.


Fracking Clears Penultimate Hurdle In North Carolina

Nov 14, 2014
Jeff Foster / Flickr

North Carolina is now one step away from legalizing fracking. A state commission has spent the past two years writing a broad set of rules to cover how fracking will work in the state. The commission passed those rules Friday evening. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined Duncan McFadyen to discuss.


Rules For Fracking In NC Up For Vote

Nov 13, 2014
Fracking
Wikimedia Commons

The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking could take its second-to-last step toward legalization in North Carolina on Friday. A state body meets at 9 a.m. to finalize the rules that will govern fracking.


Duke Plans To Use Coal Ash To Fill Old Mines

Nov 13, 2014
Mark Rumsey / WFAE

Duke Energy has proposed moving millions of tons of coal ash from waste ponds and using it to fill in old mines. So far, the plan has drawn support from frequent adversaries of the utility.

Duke says it has the perfect place to put about three million tons of ash: in old clay mines in Moncure and Sanford, a few dozen miles southwest of Raleigh. Right now, they are just open pits says Duke Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Jabon.

City of Charlotte

Most construction in Charlotte for the next three years will not have to include environmental protections against one of the state’s biggest sources of water pollution—stormwater.


Duke Energy Redoing First Step In Coal Ash Clean-Up

Nov 7, 2014
Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina environmental regulators have ordered Duke Energy to redo the first step in the process of cleaning up its coal ash ponds around the state. The company has to measure contamination from the ponds, and state regulators say their plans to do so are inadequate.

Duncan McFadyen

A new company says it will turn the former Philip Morris plant in Concord into a high tech manufacturing facility. Executives from Alevo made the announcement Tuesday. They will use the space to build large-scale battery arrays that, they say, will “redefine energy.”

Duke Energy

Opposition is already shaping up to the Environmental Protection Agency rule that, if enacted, would be the first to limit how much carbon the nation’s existing power plants can emit into the air. At the Making Energy Work conference in Uptown Charlotte on Thursday, North Carolina utilities gave an early glimpse of the grounds on which they oppose the rule.

“We’re not sure that it can be implemented as written,” Duke Energy senior vice president Dwight Jacobs said during a panel discussion at the event.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Electric cars were largely novelties until Tesla introduced its Roadster in 2008. Now, a few small start-ups are trying to repeat Tesla’s success in another sector of the electric vehicle industry. They’re building trucks, hoping to sell them en masse to government and business fleets.


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