NOTE TO READERS: Southeast Energy News is taking a break for the holidays, and will return on Monday, January 4

• Tennessee’s attorney general will not be joining a lawsuit challenging the Clean Power Plan. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• Kentucky’s newly appointed environmental regulator, a former coal executive, files a challenge to the plan. (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Three Florida cities are among a group of municipalities joining a legal action to support the plan. (news release / Associated Press)

CLEAN ENERGY: Google confirms it will build a new data center in Tennessee, running on 100 percent renewable energy through a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Accelerator is calling on America’s most innovative teams at the forefront of the electricity transformation looking to take projects to the next level. See if your project is eligible for this invitation-only event April 24—27. ***

• Along with Exxon, most major U.S. oil companies were aware of the risks of climate change as early as the 1970s. (InsideClimate News)
• 2015 will likely be Florida’s warmest year on record. (Climate Central)

• Florida’s Supreme Court sets a date of Feb. 1 to rule on the language of a utility-backed solar measure. (WUSF)
• Solar installations surge in the Southeast, thanks primarily to North Carolina and Georgia. (Climate Central)

• Coal’s downturn has West Virginia struggling with a $250 million budget deficit. (Wall Street Journal)
• Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell is one of the coal industry’s remaining political champions. (Bloomberg)

COAL ASH: A Virginia county official says he’s “disgusted” with a proposal to release water from coal ash ponds into the Potomac River. (Potomac Local)

EFFICIENCY: Environmental groups say Duke Energy should scale back plans for a new power plant in western North Carolina and focus instead on reducing demand. (Charlotte Business Journal)

WIND: Developers say they haven’t given up on a proposed wind farm in Arkansas, but will instead focus on improving their unconventional turbine design. (Arkansas Online)

TRANSMISSION: Residents of a North Carolina community are outraged that Duke Energy replaced smaller wooden utility poles in their neighborhood with much taller metal transmission towers. (Greensboro News & Record)

UTILITIES: Federal regulators approve a key step in Duke Energy’s acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. (Winston-Salem Journal)

• A Texas oil and gas company will be fined $400,000 for discharging hazardous materials off Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• Alabama will use BP settlement money to restore an abandoned governor’s mansion on the Gulf Coast. (Associated Press)

DIVESTMENT: St. Petersburg, Florida announces it will no longer invest in energy-related bonds. (Free Speech Radio News)

COMMENTARY: “Republican leaders who want to create a friendly business climate in North Carolina are falling down when it comes to the green energy business climate.” (Greensboro News & Record)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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