Regulators say Kemper ‘clean coal’ plant should run on gas instead

COAL: Mississippi regulators tell Southern Co. to develop a plan to run the Kemper “clean coal” plant on natural gas instead, and to shield ratepayers from further cost overruns for “unproven technology.” (Bloomberg) 

NUCLEAR: Despite troubled nuclear projects, several companies are still considering future reactors in the Southeast. (Utility Drive)

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OIL & GAS:
• Tropical Storm Cindy has shut down one-sixth of the oil production in the Gulf and when the storm makes landfall, it could disrupt even more oil and gas operations.

Congress works to remove tax credit deadline for nuclear plants

NUCLEAR: U.S. House lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday that removes a tax credit deadline and could save hundreds of millions of dollars for the struggling Vogtle and Summer nuclear projects. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ALSO: Researchers are starting an program in Georgia to monitor for possible contamination from two nearby nuclear facilities. (WABE)

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PIPELINES: Reporters question why a Virginia agency waited nearly seven weeks to correct what it later called an error in public perception of its handling of water-quality certifications for pipelines. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COAL:
• After being legally barred because of their emissions, two of Dominion Energy Virginia’s coal-burning units are temporarily running again to provide electricity during “critical situations” this summer.

Duke withdraws request to use coal additives that posed risk to water

COAL: Duke Energy has withdrawn a request to add chemicals at several coal-fired plants that reduces air pollution but caused an increase in contaminants in Charlotte’s drinking water. (Charlotte Observer)

ALSO: Louisville Gas & Electric has released a map showing a worst-case scenario flooding from a contaminated ash pond. (Courier-Journal)

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NATURAL GAS: Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. will become the largest U.S. natural gas producer after agreeing to buy holdings in the Marcellus shale in Appalachia.

North Carolina bill would ease Duke’s coal ash requirements

COAL ASH:
• North Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation that would ease new requirements on Duke Energy to find environmentally safe recycling uses for coal ash from some of its plants. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Court documents show that insurers targeted by a Duke Energy lawsuit believed the utility knew the risks of coal ash contamination but failed to take adequate safeguards. (Charlotte Observer)

PIPELINES:
• The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that runs through Alabama, Georgia and Florida will be partially in use in the coming days and should be fully operational by the end of the month. (Associated Press)
• Virginia’s DEQ says “additional measures and opportunities for public review and input are necessary” for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline projects. (Roanoke Times)

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One-third of U.S. solar workforce could be lost under Suniva’s proposed trade protections

SOLAR: If Georgia-based Suniva receives its proposed trade protections, an industry group says an estimated one-third of the U.S. solar workforce could be lost next year and the price of imported solar panels could double. (Solar Industry, Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Construction has begun on all eight of Florida Power & Light’s solar projects totaling 600 megawatts, making it one of the largest solar expansions ever in the eastern United States. (SaintPetersBlog)
• Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham are building a house powered completely by solar energy as part of a competition against 11 other colleges. (Alabama News Center)

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NUCLEAR:
• A clean energy group says the cost of Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear expansion is now estimated at $29 billion, which is $9 billion higher than before, while “idle time, early quits and late starts remained high” among construction workers at the project, which is three years behind schedule.

Southeast utilities fare poorly in energy efficiency scorecard

EFFICIENCY: A report published Wednesday ranks Alabama Power last among the nation’s largest utilities for efficiency, with other Southeast utilities among the bottom ten; authors say lack of state incentives is a factor. (ACEEE, Orlando News Sentinel)

NUCLEAR: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday signed a bill lifting the state’s moratorium on nuclear power plant construction. (Paducah Sun)

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SOLAR: A solar-industry advocacy group has doubts about a renewable energy bill that is being considered by North Carolina’s Senate. (Public News Service)

CLIMATE: Part of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to regulate the state’s power plant emissions includes establishing a mandatory cap-and-trade program.

Tennessee wind project on hold after state lawmakers pass moratorium

WIND: A more than $100 million wind farm project is on hold after Tennessee lawmakers passed a yearlong moratorium on new turbines there. (Associated Press)

COAL ASH: Insurance companies sued by Duke Energy to recover more than $1 billion in coal-ash contamination costs say the utility company disposed of ash in ways it knew threatened groundwater. (Charlotte Business Journal)

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NUCLEAR:
• Consultants say Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing makes it “uneconomic” to complete its Vogtle nuclear plant project. (SNL)
• Recent nuclear plant shutdowns across the country, including in Florida, are result of a mix of political opposition and competition from gas, which may undercut U.S. climate goals.

Met coal resurgence to have limited impact in Appalachia

COAL: Two recently opened and highly touted metallurgic coal mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are not an indication of what’s to come for Kentucky. (WKMS)

COAL ASH:
• As utility groups challenge EPA coal ash rules, activists worry about the implications for long-term monitoring of landfills. (Southeast Energy News)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking for public comment on coal ash storage at a plant in Kentucky. (news release)

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NUCLEAR:
• The head of Georgia Power says new agreements with Westinghouse and Toshiba will allow work at its Vogtle nuclear expansion project to continue.

Toshiba to pay billions for construction of Vogtle nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: Toshiba Corp. will pay $3.68 billion toward the construction of the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, allowing the project to continue. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• A bill moving through North Carolina’s legislature promises to end the standoff between the solar industry and Duke Energy while tripling the state’s capacity, but critics question the long-term outlook. (Southeast Energy News)
• A solar bill being considered by the North Carolina Senate has a provision that says projects can be inside or outside the state, which would affect Duke Energy in South Carolina. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• An ongoing program that educates workers in Kentucky on transitioning to new fields focuses on renewable energy.

Virginia DEQ defends review process for pipeline

PIPELINES: The head of Virginia’s DEQ says “we are going way above and beyond” in determining what impact two pipelines projects would have on water quality, though environmental groups disagree. (Associated Press)

ALSO: More than two dozen faith leaders in Virginia have signed a letter opposing the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines projects. (Augusta Free Press)

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SOLAR:
• Certain language in a solar bill passed by the North Carolina House and being considered by the Senate applies only to two Duke utilities. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• The PACE home improvement financing program says a lawsuit filed by customers, including those in Florida, is flawed and should be dismissed.