Daily Digest

Revolt building against drilling offshore

OFFSHORE DRILLING:
A revolt is building from Virginia to Florida against drilling offshore, which at one point seemed inevitable. (The Washington Post)
• As the South Carolina presidential primary approaches, drilling offshore is becoming a bipartisan issue there. (Climate Progress)

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SOLAR:
• North Carolina could reach about 2.5 gigawatts of installed large-scale solar systems by the end of 2016 while Georgia’s total could approach 1 gigawatt. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• The head of the signature-gathering firm working for the solar choice ballot push in Florida claims the campaign owes it hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Tampa Bay Times)
• A new solar system is helping supply power to a recycling center in Parkersburg, West Virginia. (Associated Press)
• A solar system is being built in Elkmont, Alabama to supply power to the TVA. (Decatur Daily)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Backers of Tennessee’s coal industry push their state’s attorney general to join a lawsuit against the plan. (Tennessee Watchdog)
• The second of three public hearings in North Carolina finds most speakers calling for it to comply with the plan. The final hearing is Jan. 5 in Wilmington. (Raleigh News & Observer)

WIND: Construction of a 700-mile line to transmit power generated by wind farms from Oklahoma into Tennessee is slated to begin in 2017. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE: Rising sea levels in Florida threaten more than just coastal communities. (Miami New Times)

SUSTAINABILITY: Atlanta’s new sustainability chief eyes a key role for solar energy. (Atlanta InTown)

OIL & GAS:
Louisiana’s oil and gas workers have lost most of the estimated 11,500 jobs that have disappeared in the state during the previous 12 months. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
• A slowdown in West Virginia’s efforts to lease its oil and natural gas drilling rights mirrors weak energy prices. (Natural Gas Intelligence / Shale Daily)

COAL ASH:
North Carolina state regulators say drawing conclusions from a report leaked by the Southern Environmental Law Center is premature. (Greensboro News & Record)
27 of Duke Energy’s 32 coal ash ponds in North Carolina are classified as “high risk” of leaching into water ways, according to a state analysis. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

COAL GASIFICATION:
• The $1 trillion-plus spending bill approved by Congress includes $160 million earmarked for the struggling Kemper coal gasification plant in Mississippi. (Y’all Politics)
• Southern  Co. agrees to license to a South Korean firm the technology being developed at its Kemper plant in Mississippi. (The Meridian Star)

COAL:
• The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill includes $30 million to redevelop abandoned coal mines in Kentucky and is part of a $90 million pilot to aid coal communities in Kentucky, West Virginia and elsewhere. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Kentucky’s top political energy appointee draws scrutiny after leaving the state’s coal lobby the same day he was appointed. (WFPL Public Radio)
• About 160 workers at Alpha Natural Resources’ mines in Virginia and West Virginia are being laid off to cut costs and recover from bankruptcy. (Associated Press)
• Southern Co. utilities collectively have reduced their reliance on coal from about 69% in 2004 to about 40% in 2015. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

UTILITIES:
North Carolina orders utilities to file revised rates reflecting true costs for power purchased from solar and other independent generators. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
Duke Energy’s struggling international operation is drawing attention as it turns more attention to natural gas and renewable energy. (Charlotte Business Journal)

NUCLEAR:
• The reactors at Turkey Point in Florida are among 13 nuclear plants in the U.S. situated on coastlines that face rising sea levels. (National Geographic)
• The Entergy reactor in Arkansas taken offline is returning to full power after addressing feedwater oscillations last week. (Platts)

PIPELINES:
• Some Upshur County, West Virginia residents urge the state’s utility commission to seek a cumulative environmental impact assessment of the seven pipelines planed through the state. (The Exponent Telegram)
• Federal regulators say the Sabal Trail and connected natural gas pipelines and compressor stations slated from Alabama and Georgia to north Florida will have minimal environmental impacts. (Palm Beach Post)

COMMENTARY:
• the Virginia General Assembly has over-reached in effectively setting rates and protections for Dominion Virginia Power. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• The push-back by some residents of Woodland, North Carolina earlier this month against solar systems encroaching on their town is understandable because it would get no direct benefit from its power. (Vox)
• The TVA should build a lot more solar and support it with energy storage systems. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
• The market is beginning to speak about the risks to home values from fracking. (North Carolina Policy Watch)

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