Daily Digest

Duke Energy plans conversions to natural gas as coal plants struggle nationwide

NATURAL GAS: Duke Energy plans to spend about $200 million in the next three years to convert four coal plants in North Carolina to also burn natural gas. (Reuters)

POLITICS: Newly elected lawmakers across the country, including Virginia, won on platforms that include carbon pricing, clean energy incentives and action against climate change, which many view as a rebuke to the Trump administration’s climate views. (Reuters, E&E News)

PIPELINES:
• North Carolina regulators have issued more information requests to Dominion Energy and Duke Energy related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project’s erosion and sedimentation control permit. (Triangle Business Journal)
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the Rayne Xpress Pipeline to begin shipping natural gas to the Gulf Coast. (Kallanish Energy)
• A federal appeals court lifted a temporary stay of construction on Wednesday for the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. (Reuters)
Low-income rural communities, and in particular those with significant African-American, Native-American, and Appalachian populations, would be more negatively affected by two pipeline projects, opponents said at a forum in Virginia. (Augusta Free Press)

NUCLEAR: Opponents of Georgia’s troubled Vogtle nuclear expansion spoke at hearings this week as state utility regulators decide if the project should continue. (Savannah Morning News)

SOLAR: Regulators agree Duke Energy must determine which solar projects win bids, but limit the utility’s ability to reject the recommendations of an independent administrator. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)

OIL:
• A bill that could potentially increase Louisiana’s share of federal oil revenue in the coming decades cleared a U.S. House committee on Wednesday. (The Advocate)
Two people were injured in a Shell oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico, though the company says there were no signs of oil on the water. (Times-Picayune)

COMMENTARY:
• An advocacy group says Virginia regulators can – and should – deny the certifications for natural gas pipelines without reasonable assurance the projects do not violate water quality standards. (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to attend the U.N. Climate Negotiations though his climate legacy is marred by contradictions, including his support for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, says a guest columnist. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• Although it appears the United States will be the only nation that is not a part of the Paris Climate Agreement, a guest columnist says Virginia should move forward in its effort to combat climate change. (Roanoke Times)
A columnist points out that when Georgia Power’s CEO spoke at a hearing before state regulators, he did not apologize for the long-delayed, over-budget Vogtle nuclear project. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Kentucky should give employers in the state access to renewable energy through so-called green tariffs, which would boost job creation. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• Virginia’s newly elected Democratic governor and the party’s gains in the House should boost current Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to promote climate action. (Think Progress)

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