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.

Poll finds Trump’s rhetoric on coal appears to be working

UTILITIES: Despite a recent decision partially in favor of efforts to open up the retail electric market in Virginia, questions remain unresolved as utilities continue to push back. (Southeast Energy News)

COAL:
• A new poll shows more people think President Trump can save the coal industry, even as most accept climate change. (Greentech Media)
• A small, but growing number in West Virginia are saying goodbye to coal mining and staking their future on the state’s solar power industry prospects. (American Prospect)

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SOLAR:
• A bill that would give tax breaks to Florida businesses that install renewable energy devices advanced Thursday to its last committee stop.

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

Two universities rethink proposed Duke Energy plants on their campuses

NATURAL GAS: 
• A controversial power plant on the Duke University campus is now in limbo as the university trustees delay a vote on the proposed project. (Triad Business Journal)
• Meanwhile, in response to local opposition, Clemson University is reconsidering the proposed site on campus of a Duke Energy plant. (Charlotte Business Journal)

UTILITIES: in a Q&A, a Virginia lawmaker explains why he’ll no longer accept campaign donations from Dominion as he fights a law impacting the way customers are charged. (Southeast Energy News)

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WIND: A third measure has been introduced in a North Carolina House committee that imposes new restrictions on wind farms, ostensibly over concerns about compatibility with military bases. (Charlotte Business Journal)

COAL:
• U.S. coal exports may increase as China turns away North Korean coal, but analysts aren’t predicting a comeback for the struggling industry.

Canada warns ‘Buy American’ could hurt U.S. coal country

COAL:
• Canada says President Trump’s “Buy American” plan for oil and gas pipelines could hurt coal country because the country’s steelmakers rely on the U.S. for raw materials. (E&E News)
• Officials in a Kentucky county did not approve a first-of-its-kind business license fee for companies that extract oil, gas and coal that would have brought in revenue to counter the drop in coal severance tax collections. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

COAL ASH:
• With the possibility of weakened oversight of Kentucky’s coal ash, there are unanswered questions about how landfills will be dealt with, including one that may have been leaking for more than a decade and possibly contaminating water. (WKU)
• Duke Energy is planning to put a portable water treatment plant within an active ash basin in Goldsboro, North Carolina, but does not plan to build permanent facilities there. (Goldsboro News-Argus)

NATURAL GAS:
• A South Carolina lawmaker is asking Duke Energy and Clemson University to move its proposed power plant away from a residential neighborhood.

Communities in Appalachia look for non-coal jobs

COAL: A bill that lessens a water quality restriction for coal mines was approved by the West Virginia House on Friday, moving it back to the Senate with changes from the House. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ALSO:
• Rural Kentucky strives to build a post-coal entrepreneurial economy. (Christian Science Monitor)
• A West Virginia coal miner doesn’t think coal is the future, so he is making farming his back-up plan. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• The opening of this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” skewered President Donald Trump and Kentucky in a skit about reviving the coal industry and bringing back coal jobs. (Courier-Journal)

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