Mercedes to produce electric vehicles at Alabama plant

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Mercedes will produce electric SUVs at an Alabama plant as part of a $1 billion expansion. (Birmingham Business Journal)

NUCLEAR:
• Federal investigators have subpoenaed documents related to the failed Summer nuclear expansion in South Carolina. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Santee Cooper’s board will discuss cashing out the utility’s settlement with Toshiba. (Post and Courier)
• A consumer group urges Dominion Energy to drop plans for a new Virginia reactor. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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GRID:
• Florida cities dispute whether Florida Power & Light did enough to prevent power outages caused by Hurricane Irma.

Utilities say grid upgrades spared Florida from much worse damage

HURRICANE IRMA: Florida utility officials say damage would have been much worse had they not invested billions in grid upgrades in recent years. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• Why it could take weeks to restore electricity service in Florida. (New York Times)
• Experts say microgrids could help make the coast more resilient to hurricanes. (PRI)
• FERC extends filing deadlines for projects impacted by the hurricane. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

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UTILITIES:
• Unable to reach a settlement over cost recovery for the Kemper “clean coal” plant, Mississippi regulators will begin holding hearings.

PJM says North Carolina coal plant to shut down

CLEAN ENERGY: Why siting renewable energy projects on former strip mines isn’t as easy as it sounds. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO: The Republican mayor of Abita Springs, Louisiana and the Democratic mayor of Columbia, South Carolina explain why their cities are pursuing 100% renewable energy. (Baton Rouge Advocate, Triple Pundit)

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COAL:
• The PJM Interconnection says a 116 MW coal plant in North Carolina will be shut down, but a specific date hasn’t been set.

Southern Co. says it needs $3.7 billion from Toshiba to complete Vogtle plant

OFFSHORE DRILLING: A coastal business group explains how it plans to fight efforts to expand offshore drilling. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO:
• Mayors and activists along the Carolina coast warn of the dangers offshore drilling could pose to the area’s tourism economy. (The State)
• A North Carolina industry group says drilling can “safely coexist” with tourism. (Raleigh News & Observer)

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Florida lawmakers to vote today on ‘good enough’ solar bill

SOLAR: Florida’s state Senate is expected to vote today on legislation implementing voter-approved tax breaks for solar; industry backers say the revised bill is “good enough.” (Orlando Sentinel)

ALSO:
• A North Carolina solar installer has withdrawn its complaint against Duke Energy over interconnecting its projects, background here. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)
• A North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center report finds regulators in many states are reluctant to support utility efforts to restrict rooftop solar. (PV Magazine)
• The Mississippi attorney general’s office releases a consumer guide for solar, which Gov. Jim Hood calls “good for the environment, for people and for the economy.” (Mississippi Today)

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Utility says it might abandon South Carolina nuclear project

NUCLEAR: At a hearing before South Carolina regulators, SCANA executives say they expect another $1.5 billion in cost overruns for a nuclear expansion, and that abandoning the project is a possibility. (Aiken Standard, Associated Press)

GRID: The president of Duke Energy says the company plans $13 billion in upgrades to its North Carolina power grid. (Charlotte Business Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Ready to network, learn, and strategize at Solar Power Southeast? Receive a 15% discount on your registration when you use code P15SACE17. Sign up today to secure your spot at one of the top solar conferences in the region. Solar Power Southeast is May 11-12 in Atlanta.***

SOLAR:
• Policy changes could help Georgia and South Carolina overcome North Carolina in solar installations.

‘Every option is on the table’ for Georgia nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: Georgia Power tells state regulators that “every option is on the table” to pursue completion of the Plant Vogtle expansion. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

ALSO:
• The owners of the V.C. Summer and Vogtle nuclear projects will pay more than $165 million in liens filed last week against the plants. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)
• Westinghouse has received tentative permission to take out an $800 million bankruptcy loan. (Reuters)

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Duke Energy sues insurers over $1 billion in coal ash claims

COAL ASH: Duke Energy has filed suit against 30 of its former insurance companies for refusing to pay more than $1 billion in coal-ash environmental claims in North and South Carolina. (Triangle Business Journal)

WIND: West Virginia regulators approve a utility’s request to purchase 120 MW of power from an Indiana wind farm. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

***SPONSORED LINK: Ready to network, learn, and strategize at Solar Power Southeast? Receive a 15% discount on your registration when you use code P15SACE17. Sign up today to secure your spot at one of the top solar conferences in the region. Solar Power Southeast is May 11-12 in Atlanta.***

NUCLEAR: The two utilities building the nuclear reactors will spend at least the next 30 days determining how to proceed now that Westinghouse has filed for bankruptcy, though Scana’s CEO said the company will continue with the construction of its own two reactors at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina.

Even in Southeast, resistance to Trump on climate rollback

CLIMATE: Though President Donald Trump’s executive action on Tuesday targeting the Clean Power Plan will affect the coal industry in several ways, it will likely bring minimal benefit to coal-producing regions. (Associated Press, McClatchy)

ALSO:
• Trump’s order wins praise from officials in West Virginia, Alabama and other states. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, Gadsden Times)
• The city of Atlanta says it will continue fighting climate change, including installing solar panels and tracking energy use. (WABE)
• A Kentucky lawmaker says the idea that coal jobs can ever come back is “one of the most cruel deceptions” in politics. (CNBC)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority says Trump’s decision will have no immediate impact on the utility because it has been reducing carbon emissions from its plants for years.

Trump climate order unlikely to provide significant boost for coal country

CLIMATE: President Donald Trump will sign an executive order today undo climate change initiatives in an effort to boost domestic energy production of fossil fuels. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• Trump’s executive order is unlikely to provide any significant rescue for West Virginia’s coal industry and others because it won’t immediately boost demand for coal. (Charleston Gazette-Mail, Bloomberg)
• Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell announced his support on Monday to accelerate the release of mine reclamation funds. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• A West Virginia senator pushing to extend retired coal miners’ benefits will meet with miners on Friday. (Associated Press)
• Historic photos show the rise and decline of a Kentucky coal town.