Energy & Environment

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

Podcast

RSS

NC WARN owns the solar panels it installed on Faith Community Church in Greensboro, and had been selling electricity to the church. But it has stopped the sales, after an order by regulators.
NC WARN

Updated 7:10 p.m.
A North Carolina environmental group is asking the NC Supreme Court to decide whether it's legal for it to install solar panels on a church rooftop, then sell electricity to the church.  NC WARN is appealing a 2-1 ruling against it last month by the NC Court of Appeals.

In February 2017, workers used a giant crane to lower a containment vessel ring into place at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, S.C.
SCANA

Federal securities regulators are investigating a scuttled nuclear reactor construction project in South Carolina, according to a release Tuesday from one of the plant's co-owners. 

Map shows the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

A divided panel of federal regulators granted approvals Friday evening for two major East Coast projects, the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines.

Duke already has installed large battery systems elsewhere, like this one at a wind farm in Texas.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy plans to install its first two large-scale battery storage units in 2019 in western North Carolina.  A nine-megawatt battery system will be installed in Asheville and a four-megawatt system is planned in Hot Springs, in Madison County.

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

Electric utilities are preparing for the possibility of widespread power outages if Hurricane Irma blows into the Carolinas next week.  Forecasters say the mostly likely problem will be wind.

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

Duke Energy announced last week it's pulling the plug on two proposed nuclear power projects.  But executives say Duke isn't shutting the door on the idea of building more nuclear plants someday.

AP 1000 westinghouse
Westinghouse Electric

For the second time in a week, Duke Energy has canceled a planned nuclear project. Duke said Tuesday it's dropping plans to build the proposed Levy Nuclear Plant on Florida's Gulf Coast. That's after it canceled plans for the W.S. Lee nuclear plant in South Carolina last Friday.

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

Updated Aug. 26, 2017

Duke Energy wants to increase electricity rates by an average of 17 percent for residential customers in western North Carolina, including Charlotte. The higher rates would pay for new facilities, cleaning up coal ash - and for a South Carolina nuclear plant the company has decided not to build.

Amy Brown of Belmont is among the well owners who filed the suit Wednesday. In 2016 she posed in her living room with bottled water supplied by Duke Energy.
David Boraks / WFAE

Neighbors with contaminated wells near Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash ponds are suing to halt Duke's demand that they sign away future legal claims in exchange for compensation. 

A controversial former environmental official from Alabama is President Trump's pick to oversee the EPA in the Southeast.  Trey Glenn was named administrator for EPA Region 4, which includes the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.

In February 2017, workers used a giant crane to lower a containment vessel ring into place at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, S.C.
SCANA

A decade ago, nuclear power’s future looked bright. It offered a carbon-free energy alternative amid worries about greenhouse gases and climate change. But a lot has happened since then, like the 2011 meltdown at Fukushima and skyrocketing nuclear construction costs. Last month, two South Carolina utilities scrapped a multi-billion dollar nuclear project. Now, the future of nuclear is even cloudier. 

Aerial view of the Shoreham Solar Commons project under construction in Brookhaven, N.Y.
Duke Energy Renewables

Duke Energy's commercial renewable energy division is expanding into New York State by buying one of that state's largest solar energy farms.  

Santee Cooper and SCE&G had been adding two reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County.
Santee Cooper

Updated 2:58 p.m.
Environmental groups are asking South Carolina regulators to let them comment as two utilities seek to recover billions of dollars in costs for a scuttled nuclear project. Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club said in a filing with the Public Service Commission that the utilities shouldn’t be allowed to charge customers for a project that will never produce electricity.  

In February 2017, workers used a giant crane to lower a containment vessel ring into place at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, S.C.
SCANA

Updated at 3:47 p.m. 

Some South Carolina Lawmakers have called for a special session to deal with the abandonment of two nuclear reactors announced earlier this week. $9 billion has already been spent building the V.C. Summer plant about 30 miles north of Columbia.

Profits were up 35 percent at Duke Energy during the second quarter compared with a year ago, helped by higher prices and strong sales of electricity. The company saw higher profits in all three of its main businesses: gas, commercial renewable energy, and the largest - electricity.

In February 2017, workers used a giant crane to lower a containment vessel ring into place at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, S.C.
SCANA

Updated 5:15 p.m.
Two South Carolina utilities said Monday they are halting construction on an expansion of a nuclear plant about 30 miles north of Columbia. Now the question is who pays for the $9 billion dollars already spent.

Map shows the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

A federal environmental review has found that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would have some negative effects on water, forests and endangered species. But the pipeline's builders call the report favorable overall and say it clears the way for final approval. 

duke energy solar near Elizabeth City
Duke Energy

Legislation designed to encourage more solar energy in North Carolina is in jeopardy after the state House and Senate passed different versions of the bill. A key sticking point is a provision the Senate added that would halt new wind power projects in the state until the end of 2020. 

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.

Pages