Energy & Environment

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

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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
Pixabay

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. 

EDDIE GARCIA / WFDD

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.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY/YOUTUBE

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.

Greta Thunberg
David Boraks / WFAE

 

More than 1,000 people gathered outside Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center on Friday afternoon to join a student strike calling for action on climate change -- and to hear 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Duke Energy building
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy's profits rose 19% in the third quarter as the big utility benefited from higher customer rates, warm summer weather that drove up energy use, and lower operating expenses. 

@GRETATHUNBERG / TWITTER

Charlotte youth climate striker Mary Ellis Stevens was inspired to start weekly vigils outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center eight months ago after learning about 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. This Friday, she'll have Thunberg at her side. 

Duke Energy headquarters in Charlotte
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has asked state regulators to approve an average 12.3% rate increase for its division serving eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area. 

bobistraveling / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Charlotte has updated its rules for how developers can plant trees in the city’s most urban areas.

After hundreds of years of mainly focusing on the aftermath of hurricanes, this is the first hurricane season that North Carolina has a "chief resilience officer," tasked to think ahead in new ways to bolster the state against the effects of climate change.

Resilience officers, or officials who have such duties as part of their job, are fast becoming a typical part of local government in coastal areas. But just a handful of state governments have them.

The tree ordinance changes would affect tree placement in most of uptown Charlotte
WFAE

Charlotte City Council members will decide Monday night whether to change rules for how developers can place trees in the city’s most urban areas. City planners say the proposed change is small, but some citizens are concerned that it doesn’t do enough to meet Charlotte’s tree canopy goals.

Chimney Swift recovering at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

More than 300 migrating chimney swift birds hit the windows of the NASCAR Hall of Fame around 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Many of them have died, and it's unclear what caused them to strike the building.

A Wood Thrush bird
Audubon Society

A new report says two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction or loss of habitat due to rising global temperatures. The report from the Audubon Society outlines the potential impact if temperatures rise by three different scenarios: 1.5, 2, and 3 degrees Celsius. 

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

The EPA wants to relax rules that govern how companies like Duke Energy can dispose of coal ash, but the proposal has some environmental groups in North Carolina concerned about how the changes might affect community health and citizens' ability to take legal action in the future.

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