As Utilities Embrace Clean Energy, Southeast Needs Smart Policies to Promote Local Renewables Growth

Even utilities in our notoriously coal-dependent Southeast are getting in on the action. Duke Energy, one of the two biggest utilities in our region, in late April announced plans to increase its renewable energy capacity to 8,000 megawatts by 2020, up by one-third over previous targets. “We’re finding that it’s competitive” on a cost basis, Duke Energy company spokesman Randy Wheeless has said of renewables. “It makes good business sense.” The Atlanta-based Southern Company, parent company of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power, intends to exceed its previously announced renewables totals for 2017 and 2018 and just bought a North Carolina company, PowerSecure, that focuses on distributed generation—smaller-scale local power often provided by renewable sources—along with energy efficiency. NextEra Energy, based in Juno, Florida and the parent of that state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL), is a national leader in wind power development. “We continue to believe that the fundamentals for the North American renewables business have never been stronger,” NextEra Executive Vice President of Finance and CFO John Ketchum said on an April 28th earnings call.

Guest Post: N.C. DEQ asks for new deadline to finalize coal ash storage classifications

Last week, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released new classifications for Duke Energy’s coal ash storage across the state. In the rankings, all sites are listed as high or intermediate priority, meaning the ash would be excavated by 2019 or 2024. Yet DEQ has asked to be able to revise the plan in 18 months, providing little security to the many North Carolinians whose communities, drinking water, and homes are threatened by this toxic ash.

North Carolina’s Secret Agenda to Destroy Renewable Energy

North Carolina’s Senate Bill 843 was introduced recently, and if implemented, would flush the entire renewable energy industry down the toilet.

To Drink or Not to Drink: A Change in Advice for North Carolina Well Owners Near Coal Ash Ponds

This is a guest post originally written by Robin W. Smith for the SmithEnvironment Blog. Smith is a lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in environmental law and policy. Before starting a private environmental law and consulting firm in 2013,  Smith served as Assistant Secretary for Environment at the North Carolina Department of [...]

Leilani Munter’s Letter to NC DOT About Tesla, Free Market Economics and the Future of Electric Vehicles

I find it sad that the North Carolina Department of Transportation would even consider making it difficult for Charlotte residents to purchase an American-built, Motor Trend Car of the Year that has sourced from over 30 manufacturers in North Carolina.

Free market economics is touted by conservatives, and yet almost routinely now we are seeing legislation being introduced across the United States designed solely to block the competition that Tesla is bringing to the old guard. Has everyone forgotten that it is unconstitutional to regulate interstate commerce?

South Carolina Leads Southeast in Coal Ash Cleanup; NC and TN Taking Action

Cleaning up coal ash works. What are our southeastern states doing to make it happen? This post is part one of a two-part series exploring the state of coal ash regulation and clean up in the Southeast. Part one focuses on North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Guest Post: Rural Electric Cooperatives Improve Energy Efficiency with On-Bill Financing

Guest Post from Marilynn Marsh-Robinson with Environmental Defense Fund: Most Americans think their electricity comes from large power companies. In North Carolina, my home state, that might mean Duke Energy or Dominion Resources. But did you know that 42 million people in 47 states get their electricity from electric cooperatives? These member-owned electric utilities were first formed back in the 1930s to provide electricity to people living in rural areas and small towns.

Coastal voices win out over Big Oil’s influence as plans for Atlantic drilling are cancelled

Today is a a day to celebrate. The Obama Administration has chosen to side with the interests of citizens, small businesses, and coastal communities over the influence of Big Oil and has announced the cancellation of plans to offer leases for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic.

Fate of Nearly 100 Million Tons of Coal Ash Could Hinge on NCDEQ Hearings

The fate of coal ash pits rated “low-” and “low-to-intermediate-” risk at seven of Duke’s power plant sites could hinge on public hearings happening through the end of March.

A Tale of Two Utilities: Post-Merger Duke Sees Growth in Carolina Energy Efficiency

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress have the opportunity to take a leadership role in how energy efficiency programs are implemented in the Southeast. The companies can and should design and implement programs that reach a broad customer market and place additional emphasis on increasing customer participation in its EE/DSM programs to deepen the energy savings results.