Virginia moves forward on pipeline permits as other states pause

PIPELINES: Virginia’s DEQ says it does not plan to slow down the process for two proposed pipeline projects despite requests from state lawmakers, opposition from environmental groups, and delays imposed in West Virginia and North Carolina. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ALTERNATIVE FUEL: North Carolina advocates want the state to revoke a permit for a proposed biomass wood pellet facility, raising questions about climate benefits and local environmental impacts. (Southeast Energy News)

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NUCLEAR: Santee Cooper’s retiring CEO said on Monday that South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear reactors should not be sold and the project could be finished in the future. (The State)

GOVERNMENT: North Carolina’s Oil & Gas Commission plans to meet this week despite Gov. Roy Cooper questioning whether it can legally do so. (BPR)

NET METERING: The Sierra Club in Arkansas says proposed changes in net metering could discourage customers who use solar power. (Arkansas Times)

UTILITIES: Florida Power & Light is being hit with a class action lawsuit over power outages from Hurricane Irma.

Audit could prevent rate hikes for South Carolina nuclear plant

NUCLEAR: South Carolina lawmakers were told that an audit that was recently made public could thwart SCANA’s attempt to charge customers for the now-abandoned Summer project. (Post and Courier)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Virginia regulators have rejected Appalachian Power’s bid to offer ratepayers electricity supplied 100% by renewable energy sources at an undetermined rate, saying the utility failed to prove its plan is in the public interest. (Southeast Energy News)

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HURRICANE IRMA:
• A look at Florida Power & Light’s post-Hurricane Irma restoration efforts in light of the multi-billion grid upgrades it made prior to the disaster. (Palm Beach Post)
• Some Florida homeowners were able to go off-grid by using energy storage with solar panels, showing how distributed power could help during future disasters. (Inside Climate News)
• Much of the debris from Irma will be used to generate electricity in Florida.

Florida governor remains lukewarm on climate change

PIPELINES: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is delaying until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, requesting additional information on its potential impact on more than 300 nearby waterways. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO:
• Police issued summonses to 19 people protesting proposed natural gas pipeline projects at the Virginia DEQ main office after they refused to leave. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• Hundreds of faith leaders in seven cities in Virginia gathered to protest the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. (Blue Virginia)

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HURRICANE IRMA:
• A Florida Power & Light official said Thursday that the utility hopes to restore power by Sunday evening to residents affected by Hurricane Irma. (Sun Sentinel)
• Florida Gov. Rick Scott is still facing criticism over his stance on global warming in the wake of Hurricane Irma, while President Trump seems to be downplaying the relationship, saying, “We’ve had bigger storms than this.” (Politico, Miami Herald)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• The new FERC Chairman said Thursday that the nation’s electricity grid watchdog will evaluate whether to help preserve coal and nuclear plants during the transition to renewable energy sources.

Tankers boost gas supplies in Florida, millions still without power

HURRICANE IRMA: Oil tankers are streaming into Florida’s ports to meet the gasoline spike as Hurricane Irma evacuees return to the state. (News Service of Florida)

ALSO:
• Florida Power & Light estimates power will be almost fully restored in the state by Sept. 22, but is “overwhelmed” by the volume of customer inquiries. (Sun Sentinel)
• Some of Florida Power & Light Co.’s nuclear power plants remain inactive – but undamaged – from Hurricane Irma. (TC Palm)
• The Department of Homeland Security official said efforts following Hurricane Irma will be to rebuild power infrastructure rather than repair it.

Utilities say grid upgrades spared Florida from much worse damage

HURRICANE IRMA: Florida utility officials say damage would have been much worse had they not invested billions in grid upgrades in recent years. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• Why it could take weeks to restore electricity service in Florida. (New York Times)
• Experts say microgrids could help make the coast more resilient to hurricanes. (PRI)
• FERC extends filing deadlines for projects impacted by the hurricane. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

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UTILITIES:
• Unable to reach a settlement over cost recovery for the Kemper “clean coal” plant, Mississippi regulators will begin holding hearings.

More than 7.3 million without power as utilities respond to outages caused by Irma

HURRICANE IRMA: More than 7.3 million customers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama were without power on Monday, while fuel prices fell as Hurricane Irma is likely to reduce demand for gasoline and diesel. (Reuters)

ALSO:
• Florida Power & Light on Monday began responding to power outages across the state as the White House urged patience, saying power could be out for weeks. (South Florida Business Journal, McClatchy)
• U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida called for the Department of Energy to create a separate gasoline supply reserve for his state following Hurricane Irma. (SaintPetersBlog)
• Regulators issue a waiver for Florida electricity companies to violate clean air and water standards without penalty for the next two weeks as they maintain and restore power. (Associated Press)
• Florida Power & Light said customers were not affected by a partial shutdown of its Turkey Point nuclear power plant in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Irma cuts power to millions, Florida utility says restoring service will be complex

HURRICANE IRMA: Power has been knocked out for at least 4.5 million customers in Florida and some people may go without power for weeks as parts of the grid may need to be rebuilt “from the ground up.” (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Florida Power & Light says it may take weeks or longer to restore power, as utility crews from out of state arrive in Florida to help. (Sun Sentinel, Reuters)
• Hurricane Irma tests $3 billion worth of power grid upgrades that Florida Power & Light made in recent years. (Bloomberg)
• Florida Power & Light shut down a reactor at its Turkey Point nuclear plant in preparation for Hurricane Irma. (Miami Herald)
• The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday sent additional inspectors to the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, which poses the toughest test yet for U.S. nuclear power plants since Japan’s nuclear accident in 2011.

Utilities prepare for major damage to Florida’s grid

HURRICANE IRMA: As Florida Power & Light prepares for Hurricane Irma, it anticipates that much of the grid may have to be rebuilt, with a spokesperson saying, “No grid is designed to be able to withstand a category 5 storm.” (WLRN)

ALSO:
• More than 1,800 stations in Florida metropolitan areas were without fuel late Thursday, as Gov. Rick Scott announced fuel availability is a top priority and that state police will escort delivery trucks to gas stations along evacuation routes. (Bloomberg)
• Oil prices steadied on Friday, though one industry analyst warns the “forces of nature on U.S. oil production should not be overestimated – nor should their impact on demand be underestimated.” (Reuters)
• The U.S. oil industry is preparing for Hurricane Irma, as Texas refiners and pipelines are still in the process of restoring operations after Hurricane Harvey. (Platts)
• As Hurricane Irma nears Florida, the state is confronting the fact that rapid development makes its coastline even more vulnerable than it used to be. (New York Times)
• Duke Energy is preparing for Hurricane Irma following increased forecasts for it to significantly impact the Carolinas. (SC Now)
• Accelerating sea-level rise and intensifying storms are speeding up the erosion of Florida’s beaches.

South Carolina lawmakers question delay of nuclear plant audit

NUCLEAR: South Carolina lawmakers question why an audit finished 19 months ago on the now-abandoned Summer nuclear plant project was not released until now, as panels plan to meet next week to further investigate the multi-billion failure. (Post and Courier)

ALSO: Two nuclear plants in Florida are in Hurricane Irma’s projected path and may be shut down. (Miami Herald)

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CLIMATE:
• Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have restarted the debate on climate change and warmer oceans. (McClatchy)
• Scientists say climate change didn’t cause Hurricane Irma, but did make it much stronger. (Bloomberg)
• Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he is not downplaying the dangers Hurricane Irma poses to this state, but has dodged questions on whether climate change is caused by humans, saying that he’s “not a scientist.” (SaintPetersBlog)

GASOLINE: Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that gasoline shortages around the state are temporary and should be resolved before Hurricane Irma arrives there.

Duke delays construction on new North Carolina power plant

NUCLEAR: Dominion Energy has paused the development of a nuclear reactor in Virginia, as plans for other nuclear projects in the country have been scrapped. (Southeast Energy News)

NATURAL GAS: Duke Energy said it plans to delay construction of a natural gas plant in North Carolina in part to “dampen demand” for the plant and to increase adoption of energy efficiency programs. (Citizen Times)

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SOLAR: Solar developers say Duke Energy’s South Carolina utilities are violating federal and state policies by refusing to sign long-term power-purchase agreements. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)

OIL AND GAS:
• As Hurricane Irma threatens to wreak havoc on Florida, fuel distributors and traders are preparing for a second supply shock following Hurricane Harvey in Texas. (Bloomberg, Reuters)
• Many refineries, pipelines, ports and offshore platforms that were shut down as Hurricane Harvey approached land are now back in service, while Hurricane Irma is predicted to spare gas and oil platforms off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. (Reuters)
• Florida Power & Light told its millions of customers to be prepared for prolonged power outages as Hurricane Irma approaches and also activated its storm plan to mobilize workers and equipment.