Editor’s note: Texans installed more than 160,000 rooftop solar projects in the fourth quarter of 2021. An item in yesterday’s digest misstated the year.
COAL ASH: Two million Georgia households are on the hook to cover the cost of Georgia Power’s coal ash cleanup, which is projected to cost nearly $9 billion for closure and monitoring and will bring in profit for the utility. (Energy News Network/Chicago Investigative Project)
• Environmental groups sue the U.S. EPA for allowing hundreds of unregulated coal ash dumps, a third of which are in the Southeast. (Facing South)
• A North Carolina college town struggles with how to deal with hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash buried beneath the police department. (NC Policy Watch)
• North Carolina residents continue to fight a Duke Energy-owned coal-fired power plant after winning a lawsuit forcing it to move coal ash to a lined landfill. (WUNC)
Southern Environmental Law Center is hiring
The Southern Environmental Law Center—one of the nation’s most powerful environmental defenders, rooted in the South—is hiring an Energy and Climate Communications Manager. This role will oversee regional energy communications, including solar and methane gas issues, to advance climate progress.
• A nonprofit launches a local solar cooperative in a Florida county. (St. Pete Catalyst)
• An Arkansas resident complains his electric cooperative threatened to charge him application fees and require a $1 million insurance policy when he asked about installing solar panels. (KARK)
• Duke Energy installs 250 kW of solar arrays atop a Florida aquarium. (Solar Power World)
• The Federal Aviation Administration announces it will install a solar generation project at an Oklahoma facility. (news release)
• Tesla considers building a lithium refinery along the Gulf Coast at potential sites in Texas and Louisiana. (NOLA.com)
• The recently passed federal climate spending package spurs a series of clean energy business investments, with Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and perhaps Oklahoma all seeing electric vehicle announcements. (Reuters)
• A lithium company announces it will build a Tennessee plant to produce lithium hydroxide for use in electric vehicle batteries. (news release)
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Environmentalists appreciate the congressional climate package’s emissions-cutting potential, but worry some provisions will enable more fossil fuel development in Texas. (Texas Observer)
OIL & GAS: Louisiana oil and gas officials hail a court ruling that reverses President Biden’s ban on lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. (Greater Baton Rouge Business Report)
UTILITIES: North Carolina begins hearings on Duke Energy’s proposed carbon reduction plan. (WUNC)
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GEOTHERMAL: An expert says Texas has “the largest undeveloped geothermal potential of any state,” but hasn’t yet capitalized on it because of the state’s historic emphasis on oil and gas. (Texas Standard)
• Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin asserts that he has the power to withdraw the state from a regional carbon market despite Democrats’ claims that only the legislature can do so. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• As Democrats argue over a measure backed by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to streamline pipeline permitting, West Virginia’s Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito sponsors similar legislation. (WV Metro News)
• West Virginia lawmakers approve a bill creating two industrial areas set aside for businesses that want to run on 100% renewable power. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
• Southwest Virginia’s congressional delegation asks President Biden for a major disaster declaration to unlock federal aid after July flooding. (Cardinal News)