South Carolina seeks criminal investigation of Summer plant

NUCLEAR: South Carolina’s attorney general and lawmakers are asking the state law enforcement division to look into possible criminal violations with the utilities involved in the failed Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

COAL:
• One of Mississippi’s city-owned electric utilities plans to close a coal power plant in May, saying it is no longer economically viable. (Associated Pres)
• A report released Monday says a piece of safety equipment meant to prevent coal mine fatalities had been disabled prior to a worker being killed in a West Virginia mine in June. (Charleston Mail-Gazette)

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COAL ASH: A coal ash pond undergoing excavation at a shuttered power plant in Georgia appears to have flooded during Hurricane Irma. (Brunswick News)

UTILITIES: In an unusual move, North Carolina agencies and an environmental advocate will depose today at least one witness about Duke Energy’s coal ash practices in preparation for upcoming rate hearings.

Documents show unlicensed workers used at South Carolina nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: Unlicensed workers designed parts of the Summer nuclear project in South Carolina without having the work approved by engineers, which is a potentially criminal shortcut that raises even more questions the project’s failure. (Post and Courier)

ALSO: A developer says it is possible to finish two abandoned nuclear reactors in Alabama within the next several years. (Times Free Press)

COAL ASH: Duke Energy announced on Friday it would post maps of coal ash risks to its website, following lawsuit threats from environmental groups. (Courier-Journal)

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SOLAR:
• The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday unanimously agreed with Georgia-based Suniva’s dispute over solar panel imports, which empowers President Trump to impose import tariffs. (Atlanta Business Chronicle, L.A. Times)
• The Trade Commission’s vote on Friday sets up a review period in which the panel must recommend a remedy to President Trump, with a final decision on tariffs expected in January.

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.

North Carolina joins multi-state climate alliance

CLIMATE: North Carolina becomes the fifteenth state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, as the group announces it is on track to meet Paris accord targets despite the Trump administration. (News & Observer, InsideClimate News)

ALSO: An analysis looks at how much these states really can do on climate by themselves without help from the federal government. (New York Times)

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COAL ASH: Environmental groups are threatening to sue Duke Energy to force online access to federally mandating maps outlining what would happen if any of the utility’s coal ash dams failed. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR:
• As the nuclear power industry struggles to hold on to its share of the country’s electricity production, some experts say as many as half of the nation’s 99 nuclear reactors could be shut down in the coming decades. (Reuters)
• Nuclear energy advocates are pinning their hopes on the Trump administration and a Republican lawmaker from Georgia to champion nuclear tax credits worth hundreds of millions of dollars. (E&E News)

STORAGE: Duke Energy plans to install its first large-scale battery storage units in 2019 in two locations in North Carolina.

Georgia regulators vote to move forward on Vogtle nuclear plant’s plan

NUCLEAR: Georgia regulators on Tuesday voted unanimously to accept Georgia Power’s plan to continue construction on the troubled Plant Vogtle expansion, despite warning that is might not be in the best interest of ratepayers. (Savannah Morning News)

ALSO:
• Meanwhile, whether or not to actually continue construction at the troubled Vogtle nuclear plant expansion project won’t be decided next February. (WABE)
• Westinghouse Electric Company says it will be exiting the nuclear reactor construction business, after filing for bankruptcy in March in relation to the now-abandoned Summer nuclear project in South Carolina. (InsideSources)

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SOLAR: A North Carolina appeals court upholds a fine against a nonprofit that installed solar panels on a church, saying they illegally acted as a public utility by selling the electricity produced. (Charlotte Business Journal)

NET METERING: A group convened by Arkansas’s Public Service Commission to examine net metering did not reach a consensus and has submitted two sets of recommendations.

Virginia moves forward on pipeline permits as other states pause

PIPELINES: Virginia’s DEQ says it does not plan to slow down the process for two proposed pipeline projects despite requests from state lawmakers, opposition from environmental groups, and delays imposed in West Virginia and North Carolina. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ALTERNATIVE FUEL: North Carolina advocates want the state to revoke a permit for a proposed biomass wood pellet facility, raising questions about climate benefits and local environmental impacts. (Southeast Energy News)

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NUCLEAR: Santee Cooper’s retiring CEO said on Monday that South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear reactors should not be sold and the project could be finished in the future. (The State)

GOVERNMENT: North Carolina’s Oil & Gas Commission plans to meet this week despite Gov. Roy Cooper questioning whether it can legally do so. (BPR)

NET METERING: The Sierra Club in Arkansas says proposed changes in net metering could discourage customers who use solar power. (Arkansas Times)

UTILITIES: Florida Power & Light is being hit with a class action lawsuit over power outages from Hurricane Irma.

Audit could prevent rate hikes for South Carolina nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: South Carolina lawmakers were told that an audit that was recently made public could thwart SCANA’s attempt to charge customers for the now-abandoned Summer project. (Post and Courier)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Virginia regulators have rejected Appalachian Power’s bid to offer ratepayers electricity supplied 100% by renewable energy sources at an undetermined rate, saying the utility failed to prove its plan is in the public interest. (Southeast Energy News)

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HURRICANE IRMA:
• A look at Florida Power & Light’s post-Hurricane Irma restoration efforts in light of the multi-billion grid upgrades it made prior to the disaster. (Palm Beach Post)
• Some Florida homeowners were able to go off-grid by using energy storage with solar panels, showing how distributed power could help during future disasters. (Inside Climate News)
• Much of the debris from Irma will be used to generate electricity in Florida.

Florida governor remains lukewarm on climate change

PIPELINES: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is delaying until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, requesting additional information on its potential impact on more than 300 nearby waterways. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO:
• Police issued summonses to 19 people protesting proposed natural gas pipeline projects at the Virginia DEQ main office after they refused to leave. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• Hundreds of faith leaders in seven cities in Virginia gathered to protest the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. (Blue Virginia)

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HURRICANE IRMA:
• A Florida Power & Light official said Thursday that the utility hopes to restore power by Sunday evening to residents affected by Hurricane Irma. (Sun Sentinel)
• Florida Gov. Rick Scott is still facing criticism over his stance on global warming in the wake of Hurricane Irma, while President Trump seems to be downplaying the relationship, saying, “We’ve had bigger storms than this.” (Politico, Miami Herald)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• The new FERC Chairman said Thursday that the nation’s electricity grid watchdog will evaluate whether to help preserve coal and nuclear plants during the transition to renewable energy sources.

Tankers boost gas supplies in Florida, millions still without power

HURRICANE IRMA: Oil tankers are streaming into Florida’s ports to meet the gasoline spike as Hurricane Irma evacuees return to the state. (News Service of Florida)

ALSO:
• Florida Power & Light estimates power will be almost fully restored in the state by Sept. 22, but is “overwhelmed” by the volume of customer inquiries. (Sun Sentinel)
• Some of Florida Power & Light Co.’s nuclear power plants remain inactive – but undamaged – from Hurricane Irma. (TC Palm)
• The Department of Homeland Security official said efforts following Hurricane Irma will be to rebuild power infrastructure rather than repair it.

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.