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)

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• 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)

• 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)

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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)

• 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)

• 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.

Westinghouse expected to file for bankruptcy as early as tomorrow

NUCLEAR: Despite setbacks in other states, a Virginia utility is moving forward with plans for a new nuclear reactor. (Southeast Energy News)

• Nuclear contractor Westinghouse is expected to file for bankruptcy as early as tomorrow. (Reuters)
• A consumer advocacy group warns that Georgia Power customers could end up taking on more of the costs to build Vogtle plant. (WABE)
• Entergy continues to face equipment and safety challenges at its Arkansas Nuclear One plant nearly four years after one worker was killed and eight others were injured. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

TRANSMISSION: A Tennessee county commissioner says Sen. Lamar Alexander is putting “his own agenda ahead of what’s best for West Tennessee” in his opposition to a clean energy transmission line.

New West Virginia bill preserves state coal mine inspections

COAL: A new bill unveiled Thursday in a West Virginia Senate committee is a retreat from previously proposed legislation that would have eliminated almost all authority over the state’s coal mines. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Numbers released Thursday show population declines in West Virginia’s southern coal-producing counties led to an overall drop in the state’s population last year. (Associated Press)
• Officials are investigating a coal slurry leak into a stream in West Virginia that is thought to have come from a pipe at a nearby plant. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• A federal judge ruled Thursday that arsenic flowing from a Dominion Virginia Power coal ash site violates the Clean Water Act, but did not to impose penalties or mandate how the violation should be addressed. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• As coal ash continues to be imported into the Southeast for use in concrete, Virginia lawmakers pursue policies to make it more viable to recycle local ash.

Virginia governor seeks to pause coal ash permits

NUCLEAR: Utilities building new nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina are hoping to recover cost overruns through Westinghouse bankruptcy proceedings. (Reuters)

ALSO: Federal regulators order a special inspection of the Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida after a minor electrical fault. (Palm Beach Post)

COAL ASH: An amendment proposed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe would pause coal ash permitting for more than a year. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COAL: President Trump reiterates his pledge to support health care for retired coal miners. (McClatchy)

• The Georgia Senate approved a measure Wednesday to loosen restrictions on conservation land to make way for more solar farms in Georgia. (The Daily Citizen)
• Newly proposed changes to expand options for developing solar and other renewable energy projects in North Carolina are expected to be introduced in this year’s legislative session.

West Virginia lawmakers reconsider bill to weaken coal mine inspections

COAL: A bill that would eliminate almost all coal mine safety enforcement by West Virginia inspectors has been removed from consideration and alternative legislation will be released later this week. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Since repeating promises of reviving Kentucky’s coal industry earlier this week, no details have emerged on President Donald Trump’s executive actions to do so. (WKU)
• Testimony before Kentucky regulators indicates Appalachian coal may be having difficulty competing on price. (Platts)
• Environmental groups challenge a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing coal mining waste to be dumped into Alabama streams. (Birmingham Business Journal)

CLIMATE: Republicans from Florida, South Carolina and other states warn of the risks if their party continues to ignore climate change: “We can’t deal in alternative facts, or alternative realities.” (McClatchy)

• Two North Carolina lawmakers introduce a bill halting all new permits for wind farms until a study is conducted determining whether there are impacts on military installations. (Coastal Review Online)
• After winning the bid to develop North Carolina’s first offshore wind farm, Avangrid’s next step is a feasibility plan. (Triangle Business Journal)

SOLAR: Florida lawmakers say consumers need more protection as they implement voter-approved tax exemptions for solar.

In Kentucky, Trump renews his pledges to coal miners

COAL: During a visit to Louisville, Kentucky, President Trump said coal miners “have not been treated well, but they’re going to be treated well now”; though retired coal miners continue to worry about being able to afford health insurance under his new plan. (Louisville Courier Journal, WKU)

• After another missed deadline, a public service commissioner said Monday that if Mississippi Power’s Kemper plant “does not deliver as promised, the utility company bears the cost.” (Mississippi Today)
• A spokesperson for the utility serving Owensboro, Kentucky says moving away from coal is “in the best interest of our customers.” (WKU)
• About 1,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide solution leaked from a storage tank at a closed coal mine in West Virginia after vandals shot two holes in the tank. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Although coal miners played a major part in 2016 presidential election, they represent only a tiny fraction of the U.S. workforce. (Washington Post)

• Westinghouse is seeking more than $500 million in bankruptcy funding to enable it to continue building four nuclear power plants in Georgia and South Carolina.