Daily Digest

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. (Associated Press)
Following requests from South Carolina’s attorney general and lawmakers, the State Law Enforcement Division is opening a criminal investigation into the $9 billion failure of the Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

COAL:
• Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says he will oppose confirmation of a longtime coal industry executive that has been nominated to head the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A new coal mine in Kentucky was awarded a conditional use permit, advancing the project despite a pending lawsuit. (WKU)
• The U.S. Attorney’s office in Alabama will announce today new charges in a public corruption case involving the Drummond Coal Company. (WBRC)

UTILITIES:
More than 60 people spoke at a North Carolina utilities commission hearing, asking that the panel deny Duke Energy Progress’s request for a 16.7 percent rate increase that would pay for coal ash clean up. (Progressive Pulse)
• West Virginia regulators are hearing testimony on FirstEnergy’s controversial effort to transfer one of its coal-fired power plants to a West Virginia subsidiary, which opponents say would unload an uncompetitive generation station onto ratepayers. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

GRID: Utilities say it may not be possible to keep the lights on in a major hurricane, but grid hardening and resiliency efforts help during the aftermath. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR: An annual study shows utility-scale solar prices in some southern states, including North Carolina and Florida, may go low enough to challenge existing natural gas power plants. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

CLIMATE: Climate change activists held a protest at Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Capitol Hill office on Wednesday, demanding he recognize the role of global warming and fossil fuels in recent hurricanes. (Washington Examiner)

COMMENTARY:
• Georgia-based Suniva’s request for solar panel tariffs is late, “as the U.S solar industry is already decimated,” which is the case the entire non-Chinese solar industry. (Seeking Alpha)
• Recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Irma, are an opportunity to improve – not just restore – the grid. (Slate)

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