FERC nominations could fast track two Southeast pipeline projects

OIL AND GAS: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is hosting public hearings this week on President Trump’s proposed drilling off the state’s coast as opponents prepare for a fight. (Southeast Energy News)

• President Trump’s slowness to fill FERC vacancies helped create a growing backlog of natural gas pipeline projects. (Politico)
• Meanwhile, West Virginia oil and gas officials say U.S. Senate confirmation of two FERC nominees could fast track the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipeline projects. (Exponent Telegram)
• Two mayors in Virginia are asking residents to support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, citing its economic and energy benefits. (Daily Herald)
• There are several billion dollars’ worth of pipeline projects in some stage of development to move Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas.

Duke ratepayers could also be on the hook for an unfinished nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: Duke Energy customers could wind up paying $500 million for a South Carolina nuclear plant that may never be built. (Charlotte Observer)

ALSO: The abandonment of the Summer nuclear plant project has sparked a debate between environmentalists and nuclear power proponents. (E&E News)

WIND: Despite support from Gov. Roy Cooper, wind energy proponents are concerned some state lawmakers are still trying to shut down the industry. (Southeast Energy News)

UTILITIES: Three power projects in the Southeast – two nuclear expansions and a “clean coal” plant – that became over-budget and significantly delayed may signal the end to utilities’ mega projects. (E&E News)

• Duke Energy says the upcoming solar eclipse’s impact on its solar farms in North Carolina will not interrupt utility customers’ power, and the TVA says its grid also is prepared for the event. (News & Observer, WKMS)
• Dominion Energy has acquired two solar generating facilities and plans to purchase two other solar farms in North Carolina.

Company predicts $25 billion price tag, longer start date for Vogtle reactors

NUCLEAR: Officials say it could take a couple more years and could cost up to $1.7 billion more to complete Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant project. (Augusta Chronicle)

• The chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission says there are significant differences between the recently abandoned nuclear project in South Carolina and the ongoing one in Georgia. (Augusta Chronicle)
• Workers fired after the Summer nuclear project was abandoned gathered at the South Carolina statehouse on Wednesday while lawmakers pledged to overhaul the utility review process. (Associated Press)
• SCE&G wanted to complete just one of the two proposed reactors at the Summer nuclear plant, but Santee Cooper voted to abandon the project altogether. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• South Carolina legislators want to stop SCE&G from continuing to collect money to pay for the Summer nuclear plant construction.

South Carolina customers could spend decades paying for abandoned nuclear project

NUCLEAR: SCANA officials told South Carolina regulators Tuesday the company plans to recover nearly $5 billion from customers over 60 years for its abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Bloomberg)

• An overview of the impact of abandoning the Summer nuclear expansion project. (Post and Courier)
• SCANA looked for other partners for its Summer plant before stopping construction, but couldn’t find any takers. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Lawmakers are calling for an overhaul in how utility projects are reviewed following the abandonment of construction at the Summer nuclear plant. (Associated Press)
• The main contractor of the Summer nuclear plant, Westinghouse, said it is disappointed that the project has been abandoned and also announced its 5-year plan to recover from its related bankruptcy filing.

Utilities abandon $25 billion nuclear project in South Carolina

NUCLEAR: Santee Cooper and SCANA Corp. announced Monday they are stopping construction at the long-delayed and over-budget Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina, with SCANA planning to brief regulators today on its plans. (Post and Courier, Associated Press)

• Santee Cooper’s CEO said the halting of the Summer nuclear reactors “pushes us back to more carbon, whether it’s natural gas or coal.” (Associated Press)
• The projects in South Carolina and Georgia have demonstrated that the main obstacle to new nuclear power is an economic one. (Washington Post)
• Abandoning construction of the Summer nuclear reactors in South Carolina is a major blow to the future of nuclear power in the United States. (New York Times)
• A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit that challenges a state law that led Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida to charge customers for nuclear power projects. (News Service of Florida)

UTILITIES: Some groups are seeking more renewable energy from a Florida utility as its franchise agreement with Miami-Dade county comes up for a vote.

Georgia Power approved to take over management of Vogtle plant

NUCLEAR: Georgia Power’s plan to assume management of the Vogtle nuclear expansion was approved on Friday by the U.S. Department of Energy. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

ALSO: The Tennessee Valley Authority makes an agreement with federal regulators who said a Browns Ferry nuclear plant had a chilled work environment that raised safety concerns. (Times Free Press)

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WIND: Apex Clean Energy is still exploring its proposed $300 million wind farm in North Carolina despite a new moratorium on wind projects in the state. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)

COAL ASH: A Tennessee prosecutor wants an investigation into cleanup conditions from a 2008 coal ash spill after workers said they weren’t warned it was toxic or given protective gear. (Associated Press)

• West Virginia’s Marcellus and Utica shale drillers continued to set records for natural gas production last year, according to data from the state.

North Carolina governor signs solar bill, issues executive order supporting wind

RENEWABLES: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Thursday legislation to promote solar energy and also issued an executive order to encourage wind power despite a controversial moratorium included in the bill. (News & Observer)

ALSO: Proponents of wind energy hope developers won’t follow through with threats to suspend projects in North Carolina following the state’s new moratorium law. (Triangle Business Journal)

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• Santee Cooper and SCE&G will accept nearly $2.2 billion from Toshiba to defray costs of the over-budget, long-delayed Summer nuclear expansion, though the project’s completion is still not certain. (The State, Charlotte Business Journal)
• Meanwhile, chief contractor and Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric has asked for an extra three months to file a reorganization plan after filing for bankruptcy in March. (Power Source)
• A look at Virginia’s uncertain nuclear power future.

Environmental group seek rejection of Atlantic Coast Pipeline agreements

SOLAR: An Arkansas rural co-op receives national recognition for a unique solar project that is helping to retain a major employer. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO: A new report shows North Carolina has seen the third-greatest increase in the U.S. in solar energy production since 2007. (News & Observer)

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• The Sierra Club wants North Carolina regulators to withdraw approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline contracts, saying the volume of natural gas initially negotiated is no longer needed. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• On the heels of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s favorable assessment from FERC, business developers in eastern North Carolina are hopeful companies will soon benefit from its natural gas. (Triangle Business Journal)

• Santee Cooper will consider today a settlement deal to clarify what funds will be available from Toshiba, which could be on the hook for as much as $1.7 billion, to move forward with the Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)
• State regulators will address a dispute about how to handle Florida Power & Light’s controversial plans to add two nuclear reactors in Miami-Dade County.

West Virginia officials order halt to Rover Pipeline construction

PIPELINES: West Virginia’s DEP has ordered construction on the Rover Pipeline to stop in certain areas, noting water pollution violations caused by construction. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Following the favorable assessment from FERC last week, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could begin construction in West Virginia this fall. (MetroNews)
• A North Carolina State University professor and Lumbee tribe member says the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would disproportionately impact Native Americans in the state. (WUNC)

***SPONSORED LINK: Ready to join your colleagues and take the lead in creating a resilient future? Register now for the 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference, August 1-2 in Richmond.***

REGULATIONS: EPA head Scott Pruitt met with South Carolina utility companies and others to discuss repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule. (Post and Courier)

• Duke Energy plans to file a rate-increase request on or around Aug.

Appalachian states seek Trump’s help on natural gas plan

NATURAL GAS: A bipartisan group of Appalachian lawmakers urge the Trump administration to preserve a loan program they say is needed for a proposed $10 billion natural gas storage hub. (Bloomberg)

• The development of North Carolina’s energy bill highlights the political challenges facing the emerging conservative climate movement. (InsideClimate News)
• President Donald Trump spoke at the national Boy Scouts jamboree in West Virginia on Monday, saying his administration is on track to make the U.S. an energy exporter, though a West Virginia University report shows the rebound is mostly due to global demand. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

***SPONSORED LINK: Ready to join your colleagues and take the lead in creating a resilient future? Register now for the 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference, August 1-2 in Richmond.***

COAL ASH: The Sierra Club said Georgia Power’s plans to close 29 ponds that hold coal ash by dumping wastewater into the state’s rivers and lakes violates the federal clean water law and is planning a lawsuit against the utility. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NUCLEAR: There were warnings about the potential for delays and cost increases prior to the start of the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, transcripts from hearings show.