Daily digest

Virginia water board approves Mountain Valley Pipeline, opponents shout ‘shame’

PIPELINES: As protesters shouted “shame,” Virginia’s water control board approved permits for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, the project’s last major regulatory hurdle. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces the same review next week. (Washington Post)

• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline cleared a key regulatory hurdle this week in West Virginia but is still waiting on water quality certifications and other permits in Virginia and North Carolina. (Natural Gas Intel)
Utilities behind the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are confident they will have the necessary approvals by the end of the year despite regulatory hurdles in North Carolina. (Triangle Business Journal, subscription)
Environmental groups want officials with the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline to release project records and internal company communications. (The Advocate)
President Trump’s choice to head the federal agency that oversees the nation’s power grid and natural gas pipelines has been sworn into office, now creating a quorum. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A Department of Energy report shows U.S. solar output grew 47 percent in 2017 and that Southeastern states North Carolina and Georgia are among the top 10 generators. (pv magazine)

• Duke Energy Progress told North Carolina regulators that the utility could recover as much as $300 million from insurance companies for coal-ash liability, which would reduce its charges to customers. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Several environmental and civil rights groups this week filed a federal lawsuit asking Duke Energy to remove coal ash pollution from a large storage basin in North Carolina. (News & Record)

• Georgia’s Public Service Commission will hold another round of hearings next week on the future of the troubled Vogtle nuclear plant. (WABE)
Meanwhile, the Vogtle nuclear project is tied to Congress’ tax reform package, which could shorten a decision timeline for the fate of the project. (E&E News, Greentech Media)

NET METERING: Kentucky lawmakers are considering changing the state’s net metering rules, which require utilities to buy back excess energy produced by customers at the same price sold to customers. (WFPL)

EFFICIENCY: Federal energy regulators rejected a proposal from PJM Interconnection to restrict energy efficiency resources from entering the wholesale market, which stemmed from an effort by Kentucky utilities in the face of declining energy sales. (Clean Technica)

• The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port will likely be the first port to load oil into a supertanker, which will help streamline and expedite exports. (Bloomberg)
• Louisiana researchers will receive the largest share of a $10.8 million settlement from BP to support research to make offshore drilling safer and prevent disasters like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. (The Advocate)

UTILITIES: Duke Energy has purchased the minority share of California-based REC Solar it did not already own to expand its clean energy offerings. (Triangle Business Journal)

COMMENTARY: A columnist says market forces are pushing utilities across the country to change their energy strategies, and even coal country is falling in line. (Forbes)

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