Southeast Energy News is now capturing the region’s top energy headlines and commentary
A project of Midwest Energy News with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and technical support from the Investigative News Network, Southeast Energy News is an effort to build a standalone news service covering energy developments in a region that is often thought of as a locus of progress towards clean energy. As you will read this is changing, and changing more quickly than you might think.
By broadening awareness of the clean energy challenges and opportunities in the 12 southeast states listed below, the resulting transparency will spotlight the markets, policies, business leaders, technologies and business models striving to create a cleaner energy economy.
We are currently seeking foundation partners, journalists and other organizations or individuals interested in helping to grow this service. For inquiries, contact me at jim [ at ] jimpierobon.com.
What follows is a sampling of a recent clean energy news development from each of the 12 states. Note that oil spills and coal plant closures contribute to informed policy debates about the costs of fossil fuels and how efficiency and renewable sources of energy can help replace them.
BP OIL SPILL |Alabama: A judge says Alabama’s Gulf oil spill damage claims under the federal Oil Pollution Act can be heard by a jury. (Associated Press)
WIND | Arkansas: Residents of Elm Springs in Northwest Arkansas protest proposed wind farm. (KNWA-TV)
SOLAR | Florida: Eight hurdles advocates must clear to place a solar choice referendum on Florida’s 2016 general election ballot. (The Energy Collective)
ELECTRIC VEHICLES | Georgia: Georgia Governor says he will sign a transportation funding bill expected to raise $900 million in part through changes to the state’s gas tax and new fees on electric cars. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
COAL | Kentucky: The collapse in energy prices is dealing another blow to the struggling Appalachian coal industry, with estimates that two-thirds of Eastern Kentucky’s coal output is now unprofitable. (Lexington, KY Herald-Leader)
OIL & GAS | Louisiana: Tarballs and other after-effects of 2010 BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico can still be seen five years later. (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
COAL GASIFICATION | Mississippi: The Kemper Project coal gasification plant set for Mississippi faces a steep uphill learning curve based on challenges at a similar plant in Polk County, Florida. (Watchdog.org)
RENEWABLES | North Carolina: A North Carolina Senate bill that would extend the state’s 35 percent tax credit for solar and other renewable energy to 2016 has 27 sponsors and cosponsors. (Charlotte Business Journal)
SOLAR | South Carolina: Utilities and solar advocates in South Carolina finalize agreement for net metering at full retail value. (Utility Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY | Tennessee: The co-chair of Memphis-Shelby County, TN’s Sustainability Advisory Committee makes the business case for sustainability. (The Memphis Daily News)
UTILITIES | Virginia: A new Virginia law prohibits reviews of and freezes Dominion Virginia Power’s rates until 2020 but fuel and other charges for new or existing power plants could rise and significantly and drive up bills. (The Virginia Gazette)
COAL | West Virginia: Closures of aging coal-fired power plants in West Virginia are tied most to tougher emissions regulations and inexpensive natural gas but also to policies embracing wind and solar energy. (The Roanoke Times)
COMMENTARY: And don’t forget to read the region’s top editorials and op-eds and enjoy the best political cartoons, such as this one by Bill Day of FloridaPolitics.com about Florida Gov. Rick Scott reportedly prohibiting the use of “climate change” or “global warming” in conducting state business: