Energy & Environment

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

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Contractors for Piedmont Lithium drill for core samples in a farm field in northern Gaston County.
David Boraks / WFAE

Piedmont North Carolina's gold-mining history is well known. Not so well known is that mines west of Charlotte once produced most of the world's supply of another important element - lithium. Those mines in Gaston County shut down nearly three decades ago. But a company called Piedmont Lithium wants to open a new surface mine next year to supply lithium for batteries to power electric vehicles.

Illustration shows how pulses from a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse attack would affect equipment on earth.
Electric Power Research Institute

Updated 8:58 a.m.

A new utility industry study out Tuesday says an electromagnetic pulse triggered by a high-altitude nuclear explosion would threaten the nation's electric grid, but might not bring the kind of widespread and prolonged power outages sometimes predicted.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision made by regulators last year to let Duke Energy charge ratepayers for coal ash cleanups.

dan river coal ash cleanup
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 4:53 p.m.
Duke Energy filed appeals Friday of state environmental regulators' April orders to remove coal ash at six North Carolina plants that don't already have approved cleanup plans.

tap water
Steve Johnson / Flickr

When you turn on the faucet, you expect that water to be safe. But that’s not necessarily the case for many South Carolina residents who depend on small utilities for their water.

Mary Ellis Stevens was striking for climate action Friday with from left, Julia Duffy and Alyssa Smith of Myers Park High School, Julia Caussil of Hopewell
David Boraks / WFAE

For the past seven Fridays, 14-year-old Mary Ellis Stevens of Charlotte has skipped classes at Trinity Episcopal School and staged what she calls a School Strike for Climate outside Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. It's not about getting a day off - she's following the lead of other young activists trying to build a global youth movement to fight climate change.

Trucks move coal ash at Duke's Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman. The company plans to cover ash in place at the plant.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 11 a.m.
Duke Energy says it will file an appeal soon of state regulators' orders last week that it must excavate coal ash from six coal-fired power plants in North Carolina that don't already have approved closure plans.   

A mountain of coal ash has been reduced to the original ground level near Riverbend.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated: 6:49 p.m.
The state Department of Environmental Quality has ordered Duke Energy to excavate coal ash from six remaining coal-fired power plants in North Carolina that don't already have closure plans. 

An electric vehicle at a charging station.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy is proposing a $76 million program to add more than 2,500 public and private electric vehicle charging stations statewide and to promote the use of electric vehicles.

The proposed bill would ban wind farms in red areas of this Department of Commerce map, deemed "significant risk." Yellow "moderate" risk areas aren't affected.
N.C. Department of Commerce

An 18-month moratorium on new wind energy farms in North Carolina ended Dec. 31. But a bill introduced in the state Senate Wednesday would ban new projects in all or part of two dozen eastern North Carolina counties. Renewable energy advocates say the bill would hurt economic development. 

Dominion Energy is offering buyouts less than three months after purchasing the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas.

Duke CEO Lynn Good
Duke Energy

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good's total compensation was down last year, compared with 2017. Good, who has led Duke since 2013, received $13.9 million, about one-third less than $21 million the year before.

Credit Duke Energy / TVS Design

Duke Energy says it will start construction at the end of April on what is now a planned 40-story office tower across from its headquarters in uptown Charlotte.

The new Duke Innovation Center is at Parkwood Avenue and 16th Street, in an old textile mill.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has opened a new innovation center in an old mill just outside uptown, and it's not like any button-down corporate office you've ever seen.

Elevated Pollutants In Rivers Suspected In Many Parts Of NC

Mar 3, 2019

Elevated levels of industrial pollutants in North Carolina rivers are almost certainly not limited to areas near Wilmington and Fayetteville, where GenX contamination has raised concerns in recent years, according to environmental scientists.

Duke Energy headquarters in Charlotte
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy says it eliminated 1,900 jobs across the company last year. In a securities filing Thursday, the Charlotte-based company says it paid out $187 million in severance to those employees.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy says it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a lower court declined to reconsider throwing out a permit allowing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.

Dominion plans to expand use of new technology on pipelines and wells, like this Zero Emissions Vacuum and Compression system.
Dominion Energy

Methane that leaks from natural gas wells and pipelines or is vented during pipeline testing contributes to destruction of the ozone layer.  Dominion Energy of Virginia says it will cut methane emissions from its natural gas system by about 25 percent over the next decade to help fight climate change.

The study used 2016 federal agricultural aerial photos and 2016-17 NC Emergency Management  images.
City of Charlotte

Charlotte's tree canopy was little changed from 2012 to 2016, shrinking only slightly as trees were cut for development. A new study delivered to the City Council Monday shows losses were offset by tree planting and natural growth.

A Yoshino Cherry tree in east Charlotte is the 2019 Charlotte Tree of the Year.
TreesCharlotte

We Charlotteans love our trees, from majestic oaks to flowering fruit trees. When city officials and the people who care for those trees gathered for the annual TreesCharlotte summit Tuesday night, one tree stood out.

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