Duke Energy

Raleigh highlighted as a “Shining City” when it comes to solar power

Raleigh, NC –Raleigh is one of dozens of communities leading the nation’s surge in solar power, ranking 15th in the country for solar projects installed per capita, according to a new Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center study released today. The analysis, titled “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution,” is the first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar power in major American cities.

“Raleigh is one of America’s shining cities when it comes to solar power,” said Dave Rogers, field director with Environment North Carolina, “and it has the potential to shine even brighter.”

City Councilor Russ Stephenson, public health advocates, and area small businesses, joined Environment North Carolina to release the study at the NC State solar farm, which was built with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Brownfields to Brightfields” program.

Duke Energy shareholders calling for directors' heads on a platter

Two major Duke Energy shareholders are urging other investors to vote out the directors in charge of the company's environmental, safety, and health compliance.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the New York City Pension Funds wrote fellow shareholders Monday. They asked that shareholders not re-elect four members of the Duke board’s regulatory policy and operations committee at the May 1 annual meeting.

:::snip:::

The letter cites the Feb. 2 ash spill into the Dan River, saying Duke had “forewarning of the public risk” from environmental groups that had intended to sue Duke over ash contamination.

More on the Cambistat tree treatment controversy

Greensboro's Billy Jones was also dosed, in an effort to limit the growth of questions:

"You also made a lot of other claims in your article/ blog please provide sources for those. We are concerned that you are being paid by someone who prunes trees and does not want this technology introduced as it will hurt their business. Much of what you say is not true in your blog.

Please disclose this if this is true.

You are far too articulate to have made so many errors in factual data in your blog. Plus it mimiced another blog that was written in blue DNC."

Apparently there's a conspiracy of tree-pruners out there waging a campaign against the poor chemical companies. ;) Just a little primer for Mr. Prosser on the phenomena of 21st Century blogging, and especially the hyper-local flavor of such: we in the blogging community learned a long time ago that calling attention to something before it happens can sometimes stop it from happening. If it doesn't stop it, it does often result in answers to questions a lot of citizens may have. And pointing a bulldog like Billy Jones to further information on the subject (thanks for that, by the way, my diary had fallen off the radar), is a sure-fire way to keep him interested. A few words from Billy:

Duke Energy backs off on chemical treatment of trees

And of course, the fault lies with ratepayers:

"We're pausing the program because of the feedback, I do hate that there is so much misinformation out there about this program. We never intended to force this application on to any property owner," said Paige Layne, with Duke Energy. She says the company should have done more than leave door hangers announcing the plan, but she says the chemical is not dangerous.

"The product has been widely tested by the EPA has approved its use as has the state of North Carolina," she said Duke's initial plan was to let property owners with objections opt out of having their trees treated. Some residents in Greensboro were upset with Duke after what they felt was overly intensive trimming in December of 2012.

There very well may have been "misinformation out there" concerning this process, but that most often happens when there's not enough information provided in the first place. Considering the multiple water contamination problems associated with coal ash and the injudicious tree-cutting Duke has been responsible for in the past, it's no wonder citizens would be concerned.

Which side are you on, Roy?

From NC Policy Watch:

Plagued by infighting and litigation delay tactics, North Carolina’s coal ash crisis has grown into more than just an environmental disaster. It’s now a political and legal nightmare, the bill for which the state and its residents will be paying for many years to come.

The latest example came late Monday, when Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a notice of appeal of a court ruling that would require Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash pits — in advance of any clean-up plans it might later adopt.

Dammit Roy, whose side are you on anyway?

NC to appeal court order requiring immediate coal-ash clean up

It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

"Just a week after the state publicly abandoned its sweetheart deal with Duke and promised to "enforce" the law, it has appealed a judicial ruling that confirmed the state's legal authority to enforce a real solution for coal ash contamination," Gerkin [of the Southern Environmental Law Center] said in a statement. "We’re disappointed that this administration remains so determined to delay through litigation rather than move forward to stop ongoing pollution of North Carolina's rivers, lakes and groundwater."

Here's the translation:

On the front lines in the war to protect NC's water quality

The Waterkeeper Alliance on the move:

Peter Harrison has an enviable life: He spends a lot of time in a boat, exploring the waterways of North Carolina. Peter Harrison also has an interesting life: Other boats sometimes follow his, with huge cameras pointed in his direction, shutters clicking away.

“It’s just intimidation,” Harrison says. The people with cameras tend to be security guards for Duke Energy, the state’s largest electricity provider, and a company that Harrison spends a lot of time investigating.

If Duke Energy spent half the time watching their potential sources of pollution as they do watching the watchers, the need for people like Peter wouldn't be as critical. Then again, if you're really not concerned about what damage you do to the environment accidentally, or if you do so intentionally to help you manage the volume of your wastes, stopping people like Peter becomes the top priority:

People are pissed at Duke Energy & Pollution

Art Pope's constellation.

The John Locke Foundation, based in Raleigh, is part of conservative businessman and state budget director Art Pope's constellation of free-market, anti-government groups. Its critique of Duke Energy was more muted—but no longer.

We'll get to the main story in a moment, but first we have to relish Bob Geary's turn of a phrase: "Art Pope's constellation of free-market, anti-government groups". We appreciate good writing, and Geary is a consistent source of it. This particular phrase is, in our estimation, just about perfect. Well done Bob!

And now what Bob's getting at:

What could possibly be wrong with one company supplying the electricity to 95 percent of our state? One company that is both public utility and shareholder-owned: Captive customers pay the bills and the company makes all the campaign contributions it wants.

Rep. Mike Hager polluting the Environmental Review Commission

How can you be objective when your own culpability may be an issue?

And perhaps spending 17 years working for a major polluter colors one's perspective on what worrisome levels of pollution are. After all, in 2002, the last full year Hager served as Cliffside's engineering manager, the plant reported releasing more than 12,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into surface waters -- including 2,100 pounds of arsenic, 200 pounds of chromium and 250 pounds of lead, all known to cause cancer. It also reported releasing almost 2.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals directly into the air.

In total, from the time EPA began requiring electric utilities to report their toxics releases in 1998 through Hager's last full year with Duke Energy, the Cliffside plant reported releasing more than 96,000 pounds of toxic chemicals to surface water and another 18 million pounds to the air.

Hager needs to recuse himself from any reviews of coal-fired power plants and their associated coal ash impoundment ponds, and the General Assembly should seriously consider removing him from the Commission. Aside from the monetary influence of Duke Energy's campaign dollars, he's not psychologically fit to evaluate the quality of his own work (or his colleagues') as an engineer for Duke Energy. Nobody with the same history would be.

Duke Energy to retard tree growth using chemicals

And Greensboro is going to be the lab rat:

Duke Energy chose Greensboro to be among three North Carolina cities where it will test a chemical product that slows tree growth, according to company leaders.

Rainbow Treecare will inject the “growth regulator” Cambistat into the ground near trees within Duke Energy’s rights of way, where branches can interfere with power lines. About 20 species of trees will be treated, including maples, elms, sweet gums and oaks, said Shawn Bernick, Rainbow’s vice president for research and development and technical support.

It's not surprising they would choose Greensboro as one of the test cities, as the Gate City has a very healthy canopy, at least in some of the older neighborhoods. It may be a first for Duke, but other utilities have used this approach to curb tree growth:

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