Southeast Energy News

Virginia’s controversial utility overhaul bill heads to governor

UTILITY OVERHAUL: The Virginia Senate sends the controversial Dominion Energy-backed bill to Gov. Ralph Northam, despite criticism that it won’t allow regulators to lower base rates or issue customer refunds. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COAL: Top officials at Mississippi Power’s Kemper “clean coal” plant knew for years about design flaws and budget problems but withheld the information from regulators. (The Guardian)

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POLITICS: A Tea Party backer and supporter of President Trump forms a group called the Green Tea Coalition to rally more conservatives around renewable energy. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

PIPELINES:
• A Louisiana environmental group releases documents it says show the state’s environmental regulators are too cozy with Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of the planned Bayou Bridge pipeline. (Times-Picayune)
• A short documentary features Lumbee Indians and an African American who live near the route of the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which they say threatens ancestral land and their cultural identity. (News & Observer)

NATURAL GAS:
• Florida regulators approve Florida Power & Light’s plan for a $888 million 1,163 megawatt natural gas-fired plant, despite opposition from residents and environmental and consumer groups. (Palm Beach Post)
• Dominion Energy completes its Charleston Project, a natural gas pipeline in South Carolina that marks the company’s largest ever expansion project. (Charleston Regional Business Journal)
• Entergy Corp. plans to demolish a nearly 70-year-old gas plant in Arkansas that hasn’t produced electricity since 2013. (Arkansas Business)

SOLAR:
• A South Carolina House panel advances two bills to expand solar power and increase energy efficiency programs for electric customers. (Post and Courier)
• Four new solar plants in Florida begin providing power, bringing the total number of Florida Power & Light solar plants to 14. (Palm Beach Post)

RENEWABLES: Shampoo and cosmetics maker L’Oréal plans to offset the carbon footprint of its U.S. manufacturing and distribution centers by purchasing Kentucky landfill gas, solar, and other renewable energy. (WFPL)

UTILITIES:
• Duke Energy customers in North Carolina pay millions of dollars each year to fund industry groups that have spent years fighting coal ash regulations, according to a report. (Energy and Policy Institute)
• An association of manufacturers in Florida is concerned that selling JEA could result in job-killing increases in electric rates. (Florida Times-Union)

OVERSIGHT: South Carolina is trying to fill three open spots on its Public Service Commission as regulators continue grappling with the aftermath of the multi-billion-dollar failure of the Summer nuclear plant. (Post and Courier)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: A panel of Virginia officials against the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas exploration includes Gov. Ralph Northam, who will detail his opposition plan next week. (Bay Journal)

COAL ASH: A bill that provides public notification before dewatering coal ash ponds clears the Georgia House and goes to the Senate. (Brunswick News)

CLIMATE: An EPA analysis that considers extreme weather and social factors shows certain areas, including Appalachia and parts of the Southeast, are likely to be more affected by climate change. (Pacific Standard)

COMMENTARY: Private utilities would love to get a piece of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which President Trump has proposed selling, because it is a valued assets and competes for limited capital. (Forbes)

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