COAL ASH: In a new study paid for by advocates represented in a lawsuit against Duke Energy, Duke University scientists find harmful effects can last years even after ash ponds have closed. (Raleigh News & Observer)

• Duke University scientists find two coal ash ponds in Virginia are among 21 facilities in five states leaching contaminants into surrounding water. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• A Duke Energy official says environmental groups are trying to scare people over air quality around an ash storage site in North Carolina. (Fayetteville Observer)

Farmers in rural counties are among the newest backers of solar energy in North Carolina. (Greensboro News & Record)
• The coalition of utilities backing a constitutional amendment in Florida that would impose new rules on solar spent more than $6.5 million on advertising in May. (SaintPetersBlog)
• A second solar farm is planned for Stokes County, North Carolina. (Winston-Salem Journal)

• The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is helping rural communities in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia with renewable energy and efficiency projects. (Utility Dive)
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas agree with North Carolina’s consumer advocate on added conditions of their merger, including lowering ratepayers’ bills for two years. (Charlotte Observer)
New Orleans-based Entergy outlines its shift to a smarter grid and how it hopes to make money with merchant nuclear power plants. (EnergyWire)
North Carolina utility regulator Edward Finley Jr. is the new chairman of the electricity committee at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. (Daily Energy Insider)

RENEWABLES: A new lease agreement between Apple and Catawba County, North Carolina clears the way for construction of a power plant that harnesses landfill gas. (Hickory Record)

FRACKING: A federal judge rules state and federal law preempts an ordinance in a West Virginia county banning fracking waste. (Beckley Register-Herald)

EFFICIENCY:  North Carolina State University; Cree, Inc. in North Carolina; and Lumenari, Inc. in Lexington, Kentucky are among several organizations receiving funding from the Department of Energy to accelerate advances in LED lighting products. (EIN)

• A team from Central Florida University won a Department of Energy “Cleantech University Prize” for developing a sensor that helps optimize fuel cell operations. (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
Researchers at Georgia Tech and a nanoscience center in China finish building a renewable system that fits on top of buildings and uses both wind and solar. (iHLS)

NATURAL GAS: Flaring of excess gas in West Virginia and elsewhere seems likely to continue despite rules designed to reduce it. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)

• A woman fights to save her rural land from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in central Virginia. (Washington Post)
Duke Energy pushes back against opponents of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline with local supporters. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

GRID: A large-scale pilot test of an “ultra-capacitor” battery designed to help balance power flows on Duke Energy’s power grid goes live. (Energy Storage News)

COAL: Retirees from seven states plan to stage a rally tomorrow in Lexington, Kentucky calling for extension of their federal health care benefits. (West Virginia Metro News)

• The TVA claims leadership on coal ash cleanup while refusing to do what’s needed to protect the environment and public health. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has an abysmal climate record. (The Washington Post)
• Federal regulators should heed the growing opposition to drilling off the Atlantic coastline and ban seismic testing. (The Post and Courier)
• Despite semi-annual reviews, Georgia Power’s nuclear reactor construction projects demand more transparency. (Atlanta Progressive News)

CORRECTION: An item in Friday’s Digest, based on information in the Charlotte Business Journal, incorrectly stated that a study recommended allowing third-party solar sales in North Carolina. The article has been corrected and is posted here.

Jim Pierobon, a policy, marketing and social media strategist, was a founding contributor to Southeast Energy News. He passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer in 2018.

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