BP makes major oil discovery in Gulf of Mexico

OIL & GAS: BP has discovered 200 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles from New Orleans. (Houston Chronicle)

ALSO:
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today to open up offshore oil and gas drilling, as opposition mounts from environmental groups. (USA Today, WSAV)
A Louisiana parish has filed a lawsuit against oil and gas companies for damage to its wetlands, with the district attorney telling the companies, “clean up the mess that you have made and restore our coast.” (Times-Picayune)

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NUCLEAR:
• A SCANA executive said Thursday the V.C. Summer nuclear plant completion could hinge on the extension of federal tax credits.

Georgia company may have just started new solar trade war

SOLAR: Georgia-based Suniva files a petition for new tariffs on imported solar components, a move that could have global implications for the industry. (Reuters, Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• North Carolina-based Strata Solar wants to fill hundreds of job openings in Virginia with military veterans. (Southeast Energy News)
• The Smart Electric Power Alliance has named the top 10 U.S. utilities for solar power, which include Georgia Power, Duke Energy and Dominion Power. (Solar Industry)

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Developer: North Carolina offshore wind could take a decade or more

WIND: One month after its successful bid to develop North Carolina’s first offshore wind farm, the CEO Avangrid Renewables says it will be “well beyond 2020” before the project is complete. (Triad Business Journal)

NUCLEAR: 
• A South Carolina bill would more strictly regulate rate increases for future power plant cost overruns, but exempts the V.C. Summer nuclear plant. (Aiken Standard)
• Environmental groups say Florida Power & Light’s proposed Turkey Point nuclear wastewater plan needs to be studied further. (Palm Beach Post)
• Delays at Plant Vogtle have been good for nearby businesses that cater to construction workers. (Marketplace)
• Toshiba said this week it will split itself into four subsidiaries in response to losses in its nuclear power division. (Nuclear Street)

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West Virginia governor’s coal facility cited after worker’s death

COAL: One of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal plants has been cited for six safety violations during the investigation of a worker’s death. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ALSO:
• A federal court granted the Trump administration’s request to delay a decision on rules that limit water pollution from coal plants. (Associated Press)
• An analysis finds upcoming power plant retirements will significantly lower the demand for coal by the end of 2018. (CleanTechnica)
• PBS talks with coal miners in West Virginia as they are in jeopardy of losing their health care at the end of this week. (PBS)

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Appalachian Power sees more clean energy in its future

UTILITIES:
• The Virginia Supreme Court heard from opponents of a 2015 law that froze Dominion Virginia Power’s rates, which they say allows the utility to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in excess profit. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• The new Appalachian Power president says his company is looking at renewable energy because that is what is being demanded by some of the country’s biggest businesses. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ADVOCACY: An environmental organization’s history in the Southeast could provide a template for other advocacy groups to defend clean energy policies under the Trump administration. (Southeast Energy News)

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North Carolina conservatives again target renewable energy standard

CLEAN ENERGY: Conservative North Carolina lawmakers are making another attempt to freeze the state’s renewable energy standard. (WRAL)

ALSO: A Virginia school’s recognition last month for its net zero energy status is part of a growing trend in the Southeast. (Southeast Energy News / Living Building Chronicle)

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CLIMATE:
• A new study says rising sea levels will displace 500,000 people in the New Orleans area by 2100. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• Officials in Florida communities worry about the impact on real estate values — and therefore, local tax revenue — from rising waters.

Duke Energy to continue moving away from coal

COAL: The CEO of Duke Energy says despite the Trump administration’s push for fossil fuels, “our strategy will continue to be to drive carbon out of our business.” (Charlotte Business Journal)

ALSO:
• Retired coal miners criticize President Trump’s silence on the possible end of federal health benefits: “He promised to help miners, not just mining companies.” (New York Times)
• Advocates raise health concerns about a proposal to site a federal prison on a former mountain coal removal site. (NRDC)

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COAL ASH:
• In response to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Duke Energy said Wednesday that the company’s coal ash costs should be considered as part of an overall rate increase — not separately — and that government agencies are confusing the issue.

Kentucky coal company plans solar array atop former strip mine

SOLAR: A Kentucky coal company is planning a 50-100 MW solar array, which would be by far the state’s largest, atop a recovered strip mine site. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

ALSO: 
• Georgia-based solar manufacturer Suniva filed for bankruptcy protection, which could prompt a trade dispute between America and Asia. (Greentech Media)
• The solar industry challenges Duke Energy’s claim that customers would pay $1 billion too much for solar power under current contracts. (Charlotte Business Journal)

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City of Richmond seeks to cut emissions by 80 percent

WIND: Three North Carolina Republicans are sponsoring a bill to streamline wind energy development, challenging an effort by others in their party to impose further restrictions. (Southeast Energy News)

EMISSIONS: The mayor of Richmond wants to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 through energy use and alternative energy sources, among other actions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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PIPELINES:
• The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is investigating a natural-gas pipeline project for possible environmental violations after property owners filed complaints. (Newnan Times-Herald)
• The Forest Service has approved Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers’ plans to tunnel through the Blue Ridge Mountains rather than trying to a cross scenic parkway and hiking trail, which faced opposition.

Big businesses push Kentucky away from coal

COAL: While Kentucky remains “sentimental” about coal, big businesses are pushing the state toward clean energy. (NPR)

PIPELINES: The U.S. Forest Service is concerned about the environmental impact from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline merging with the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (News & Advance)

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COAL ASH:
• A Tennessee power plant that faces two lawsuits and a lot of unpopularity from residents draws more attention to problems related to coal ash disposal.