Facebook data center depends on Virginia utility’s solar plan

SOLAR: A new Facebook data center in Virginia is tied to a $250 million solar plan by Dominion Energy, and a new tariff that must be approved by state regulators. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

OIL & GAS: U.S. Oil and natural gas operators began to stop production at platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, as Louisiana prepares for the storm to make landfall this weekend. (Reuters)

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NUCLEAR:
• Santee Cooper’s board is scheduled to choose an interim CEO today, following the retirement of its longtime CEO in the wake of the Summer nuclear plant failure. (Post and Courier)
• A Florida lawmaker is asking for safer measures to prepare for rising sea levels and major hurricanes as Florida Power & Light proposes expanding its Turkey Point nuclear plant. (Miami New Times)

PIPELINES:
• The Roanoke City Council is asking Virginia state officials to require developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to either completely control sediment the project may cause in the Roanoke River or pay to clean it up.

Utility executive’s remarks raise questions about need for pipeline

PIPELINES: Opponents of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline say leaked remarks by a Dominion Energy executive underscore that there’s not enough demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina to justify the project. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COAL: At a private meeting with mining executives, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says “coal is fighting back.” (E&E News)

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CLIMATE:
• Energy projects around the country, including the Sabal Trail Pipeline in the South, are being slowed in federal courts as the Trump administration continues to resist considering the projects’ climate impacts. (Los Angeles Times)
• A nationwide interfaith group now has a chapter in North Carolina that is helping build a faith-based movement to address climate change. (Coastal Review Online)
• National and local energy experts will discuss next week economic and environmental impacts of climate change in North Carolina at a free conference that is open to the public.

South Carolina lawmakers grill CEO over failed Summer nuclear plant

REGULATION: Advocates want North Carolina lawmakers to confirm two appointments to the state utilities commission this week before it considers Duke Energy’s bid to hike residential electric bills 16.7 percent. (Southeast Energy News)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina lawmakers questioned Santee Cooper’s CEO on Tuesday about whether the now-failed Summer nuclear project should have been abandoned long ago, though the official said he pushed for better oversight of the project. (Post and Courier, Associated Press)
• The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a special inspection of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama following a valve failure. (Times Daily)
• Federal regulators are addressing an Entergy subsidiary’s proposed return on equity for nuclear power sales to four other company affiliates, after utility commissions in Arkansas and Mississippi asked FERC to open an investigation. (RTO Insider)

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PIPELINES:
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized the conversion of a Kentucky pipeline from carrying natural gas to natural gas liquids, despite concerns that the 70-year-old pipeline is hazardous.

Georgia Power receives first payment to continue Plant Vogtle nuclear project

NUCLEAR: Georgia Power announced Monday it has received the first installment of payments from Toshiba, clearing a critical hurdle to continue the troubled Plant Vogtle nuclear project. (Augusta Chronicle)

COAL ASH: The Tennessee Valley Authority on Monday filed an appeal notice over a judge’s order to excavate and move coal ash at a Tennessee power plant. (Associated Press)

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PIPELINES: An opponent of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline speculates that its potential expansion could mean there isn’t enough demand for natural gas and project leaders are looking for new customers by extending into South Carolina. (WVTF)

SOLAR:
• The International Trade Commission will hear testimony Tuesday after it decided that solar manufacturers have been harmed by cheap imports, following complaints by Georgia-based Suniva and another U.S. manufacturer. (Portland Business Journal)
• More Virginians are turning to renewable energy to offset electric costs in their homes and businesses as the price of solar panels drops.

Controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline could expand to South Carolina

PIPELINES: Developers of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline are considering expanding the project into South Carolina, according to an audio recording that was leaked to the Associated Press. NUCLEAR:
• Utilities owe some $244 million in unpaid bills known as mechanics’ liens for work on the now-abandoned Summer nuclear project, which are in addition to the roughly $9 billion that has already been paid out.  (Post and Courier)
• The Trump administration approved $3.7 billion in loan guarantees for Georgia’s troubled Plant Vogtle nuclear project. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• Officials from South Carolina’s state-owned utility Santee Cooper will testify Tuesday before lawmakers who are investigating the failed Summer nuclear project. (The State)
• South Carolina regulators have deferred action on a petition to suspend about $37 million a month in rates customers are being charged for the now-abandoned Summer nuclear plant, as the state’s attorney general wants to intervene in determining whether the utility company can continue to bill customers.

Internal Westinghouse document outlined risks of South Carolina nuclear project

NUCLEAR: A confidential internal analysis in 2011 outlined how Westinghouse didn’t have the staff or experience to manage the construction of nuclear reactors and predicted it could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in its quest to do so. (Post and Courier)

ALSO:
• A new lawsuit alleges civil federal fraud against SCANA and its three top executives, saying they led a “deliberate misinformation campaign” to boost stock prices for the now-failed Summer nuclear project in South Carolina. (The State)
• South Carolina regulators said Thursday they need to review via regulatory court the possibility of forcing a utility to stop billing customers for the abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Associated Press)
• Two private equity firms are reportedly planning to bid to acquire Westinghouse. (Reuters)

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UTILITIES: Critics say a “basic customer charge” that Duke Energy is proposing to increase for North Carolina rate payers would harm low-income customers and discourage clean energy efforts.

FERC: ‘Inappropriate’ to assess climate impacts of pipeline

PIPELINES: FERC said Wednesday it’s “inappropriate” for the regulatory body to try to figure out the climate change impact of the controversial Sabal Trail Pipeline, following a federal court ruling that regulators should have addressed the issue before approving the construction. (Tampa Bay Times)

ALSO:
• FERC said Wednesday that greenhouse gas emissions from Florida’s natural gas plants served by the new Sabal Trail pipeline will not significantly impact the environment. (Palm Beach Post)
• The Sierra Club is challenging a request to fast-track authorization for Florida’s Okeechobee lateral project, which would be an extension of the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline. (Palm Beach Post)
• Attendees at an annual shale conference are focused on continually increasing natural gas output from the Marcellus and Utica shale stratas in several states, including in West Virginia. (Observer-Reporter)

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NUCLEAR:
• Two South Carolina utilities are selling their share of a $2.2 billion settlement over the failed Summer nuclear project in order to immediately recover 92 percent of the cash.

Westinghouse asks court to block Georgia Power from ending Vogtle nuclear contract

NUCLEAR: Westinghouse asks a bankruptcy court to block Georgia Power from terminating the company’s contract to build two nuclear power plants at Plant Vogtle. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

ALSO:
• A newly filed federal lawsuit alleges “handsome bonuses” were paid to top utility officials even as the now-failed Summer nuclear project “veered toward abandonment.” (Fox 8)
• A South Carolina plant that fabricated materials for the now-abandoned Summer nuclear project will close in March, putting 250 employees out of work. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Charging consumers for the Summer nuclear project in South Carolina is “constitutionally suspect,” according to one official. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• In the wake of multiple lawsuits and a criminal investigation, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says he still remains hopeful new owners can revive the Summer nuclear project. (Associated Press)

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SOLAR: Pricing electricity based on peak usage, or time-of-use rates, could help foster a settlement between utilities and solar advocates in Virginia seeking a compromise on net metering.

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)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Microsoft, Facebook, Walmart and other key players in Southeast energy at Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy Summit – November 1-3 in Atlanta. Register today!***

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)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Microsoft, Facebook, Walmart and other key players in Southeast energy at Infocast’s Southeast Renewable Energy Summit – November 1-3 in Atlanta. Register today!***

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.