Southeast Energy News

Duke Energy coal ash settlement shifts some cleanup costs from customers

COAL ASH: North Carolina, Duke Energy and a conservation group announce a settlement that will shift $1.1 billion in coal ash cleanup costs from ratepayers to the utility and its shareholders. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES:
• A report by the Sierra Club grades the country’s 50 largest utilities on their progress toward climate goals, including ratings for utilities in Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia. (KUAR, Georgia Recorder, Augusta Free Press, Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A new study finds that Duke Energy plans to build nearly $5 billion in natural gas plants that will need to stop operating before they’re paid for to reach the company’s climate goals. (Charlotte Business Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is offering a virtual clean energy continuing legal education (CLE) course on Feb. 2, with a specific focus on the Southeast region. Register today! ***

SOLAR:
• Virginia lawmakers advance a bill that would allow schools and local governments to contract for solar power with companies other than state-regulated utilities. (Virginia Mercury)
• A Louisiana parish changes its zoning ordinance to allow for construction of large solar projects, opening the door for a San Francisco firm that has proposed a $308 million facility. (The Advocate)
• A company planning to build a solar farm in Kentucky begins releasing details about the project and its timeline for construction. (The Gleaner)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority seeks public input for a proposed solar project in southern Tennessee. (Decatur Daily, subscription)

WIND:
• Federal aviation regulators find that a proposed wind farm in western Virginia won’t create hazards for air navigation. (Roanoke Times)
• Construction begins on a 115 MW wind farm in West Virginia. (WV Metro News)

PIPELINES: New lawsuits and a shift in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission complicate the path to completion for the already delayed and over-budget Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Roanoke Times) 

COAL: Environmental groups sue a coal operator over a West Virginia surface mine they say is releasing pollutant levels that violate federal water and coal mine regulation laws. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

POLITICS:
• As chairman of the Senate’s energy committee, conservative Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia holds the keys to President Joe Biden’s climate agenda. (Washington Post)
• A Virginia state house committee advances legislation to create a grant funding renewable energy projects on former coal mines. (The Center Square)

OIL & GAS:
• Oil and gas associations in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico warn the Biden administration that a 60-day suspension of leases on federal lands could affect hundreds of thousands of jobs and devastate regional economies. (The Center Square)
• The Biden administration’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline receives mixed reviews in Oklahoma. (KFOR)

GRID: Appalachian Power seeks approval from Virginia regulators to upgrade its transmission network in five counties. (Times-Virginian)

COMMENTARY: A North Carolina environmental advocate calls for the state to make a more rapid shift from coal, reform its utility structure and consider joining regional energy markets. (NC Policy Watch)

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