Court allows North Carolina to exit Clean Power Plan challenge

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A federal court grants North Carolina’s request to withdraw from a legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan; meanwhile, President Trump is expected to order the Justice Department to stop defending the plan, likely leaving the case in legal limbo. (WFAE, E&E News)

• Georgia is the top state for solar power developed by rural co-ops, according to a new report. (Solar Industry Magazine)
• Alabama’s largest solar farm is complete and will provide enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. (Yale Climate Connections)
• A new report says the U.S. solar market is poised to triple in size over the next five years. (Greentech Media)

• Florida Power & Light’s project to fix pollution issues issues at the Turkey Point Nuclear station is approved by the state.

Changes to North Carolina’s energy policy could benefit solar

• New energy legislation under consideration in North Carolina might allow third-party energy sales and streamline the permitting process for solar projects. (Coastal Review Online)
• Florida Power & Light announces plans to install 100 “solar trees” around the state. (News 13)

WIND: Prices for offshore wind are falling dramatically, making leases in places like the Carolina coast more attractive. (Bloomberg)

EPA: Former North Carolina DEQ secretary Donald van der Vaart is still in the running for deputy administrator of the EPA. (E&E News) 

POLICY: The chief of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality talks about his vision for the agency. (Southeast Energy News)

• Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. nuclear power plant developer owned by Toshiba, hires bankruptcy attorneys, but no official decision to file for bankruptcy has been made.

Survey finds North Carolina solar market cooling off

• A new market survey reveals a slowdown in North Carolina solar construction relative to other states. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Projects planned in a South Carolina county will more than double the state’s solar capacity. (Post and Courier)

TRANSMISSION: Arkansas’ congressional delegation urges Energy Secretary Rick Perry to reverse an Obama administration decision authorizing a wind energy transmission line through the state. (KASU)

WIND: Six companies remain in the running to bid on a North Carolina offshore wind lease. (Triangle Business Journal)

• In a unanimous vote, a Florida Senate committee advances a bill to ban fracking in the state. (Miami Herald)
• How a Louisiana export terminal is helping the U.S. meet short-term natural gas needs in a global market.

Duke Energy defends its North Carolina solar contracts

• As opponents march to protest the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a lower-profile fight continues over what activists call an “appallingly incomplete” environmental impact statement for the project. (Southeast Energy News)
• Legislation that prohibits the construction of petroleum pipelines along Georgia’s coast passed the state senate late last week. (Savannah Morning News)

• Duke Energy says the 5-year contracts it’s offering for large utility-scale solar projects do not violate state or federal laws. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Solar advocates urge Florida lawmakers to move quickly to implement tax breaks approved by voters. (Solar Industry Magazine)

TRANSMISSION: Arkansas Republicans introduce legislation in Congress that would tighten restrictions on eminent domain for transmission projects, potentially blocking a project to deliver wind energy to the Southeast.

Solar power is booming in South Carolina

SOLAR: Nearly 1,400 permits were issued for new solar installations in the three-county area around Charleston, South Carolina, compared to only 100 in 2015. (Post and Courier)

• A 250 acre solar farm is planned in Louisiana. (Natchez Democrat)
• An industry group highlights the growth of solar jobs amid declining coal employment in states like West Virginia. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)

• Georgia Power defends using ratepayer funds for preliminary work on a now-suspended nuclear project. (E&E News)
• The TVA is investigating after a contractor brought a loaded handgun into an Alabama nuclear plant, which is a federal crime.

Virginia regulators approve plans for state’s first commercial wind farm

WIND: Virginia regulators approve plans for the state’s first commercial wind farm, but the turbines will be turned off at certain times to avoid harming bats. (Roanoke Times)

COAL ASH: Georgia lawmakers defeat a measure to require more public notification when coal ash is dumped into landfills. (Savannah Morning News)

UTILITIES: Moody’s downgrades Mississippi Power’s financial ratings because of “the increasingly uneconomic Kemper integrated gasification combined cycle plant.” (Biloxi Sun Herald)

• Customers of a South Carolina utility could continue to pay for a nuclear expansion even if the project is abandoned. (The State)
• An environmental advocate praises Georgia Power’s decision to stop work at the Stewart County nuclear site but also notes $50 million in ratepayer funds had been spend on the project. (Atlanta Business Journal)
• Kentucky lawmakers lift a moratorium to prevent the storage of nuclear waste there, opening the door to future nuclear reactor construction.

Controversial Kentucky solar bill likely dead for this year

SOLAR: A Kentucky lawmaker tables a controversial solar bill ahead of a key hearing, and the measure is likely dead for this session. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

• Four Charlotte-area schools are receiving grants to install solar panels from Duke Energy’s multi-million settlement in 2015 of Clean Air Act violations. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• A Florida utility reveals more details about its major solar expansion. (News Service of Florida)
• A Florida city unveils a new 2 MW solar array atop a former landfill. (Palm Beach Post)

EFFICIENCY: Virginia efficiency advocates try again to update the state’s building code amid pushback from homebuilders.

Kentucky lawmaker ‘shocked’ by reaction to solar bill

SOLAR: A Kentucky lawmaker says he is “shocked” by industry pushback to his solar bill and says he plans to modify the bill to address their concerns; utilities strongly support the measure. (Louisville Courier-Journal, Lane Report)

ALSO: Solar advocates push back on a Georgia bill they say would “undermine” state regulators. (Solar Industry Magazine)

ENERGY STORAGE: North Carolina has given Alevo Energy almost $13.2 million in state and local incentives to build a new battery assembly line. (Triad Business Journal)

CLIMATE: Advocates push Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state leaders to do more to reduce carbon emissions absent leadership at the federal level. (WVTF)

• Female coal miners talk about their experiences working in a male-dominated workforce.

Despite public backlash, West Virginia lawmakers vote to weaken pollution rules

COAL: West Virginia lawmakers advance a bill allowing more pollution into streams despite strong opposition at a public hearing. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• The Interior Department removes from its website a controversial claim that repealing the federal stream protection prevented the loss of “7,000 clean coal jobs in 22 states.” (Greenwire)
• A worker is killed at a West Virginia facility owned by Gov. Jim Justice. (WSAZ)

• More evidence emerges pointing to widespread pollution from a Kentucky coal ash site as state lawmakers and regulators seek to weaken oversight. (WFPL)
• New results showing that contamination from a North Carolina plant could flow toward drinking water wells has Duke Energy downplaying the importance of computer modeling it once emphasized. (Progressive Pulse)

PIPELINES: On Norman Bay’s last day as FERC commissioner, he made recommendations that pipeline project watchdogs have pitched for years.

Duke Energy claims it’s overpaying for solar by $1 billion

SOLAR: Duke Energy says it will end up overpaying solar developers $1 billion for the energy they generate over the next dozen years in North Carolina. (Charlotte Observer)

• South Carolina solar projects are in limbo as lawmakers consider new tax breaks. (The State)
• A Georgia regulator warns that a bill to weaken regulatory authority over utility resource plans could effectively kill solar in the state. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• An Alabama school will receive about one fifth of its daytime energy needs from a new solar array. (Birmingham Business Journal)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: North Carolina withdraws from a lawsuit challenging the Clean Power Plan.