Archive: Environmental

Courtesy: Duke Energy

EPA Issues Final NAAQS Ozone Rule at 70 ppb [UPDATED]

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Oct. 1 released the final version of new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, cutting the current limit of 75 ppb to 70 ppb. The move sets the stage for a battle with Congress, the states, and a range of industries that have warned the new ozone [...]


Europeans Praise the Clean Power Plan While Yawning in Reaction

By now, power industry watchers are familiar with how U.S. interests are reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency’s final release on August 3 of the Clean Power Plan. But what about the rest of the world—especially Europe, which has long been seen as taking a stronger stand on greenhouse gas emissions? Some key European officials [...]


Gas-Fired DG Showdown: Microturbines, Fuel Cells, or Reciprocating Engines?

If you’re looking to generate distributed power with gas, your options are broader than ever, with a range of efficient, clean-burning technologies to chose from. Knowing which option is the right one depends on a balance of site constraints, fuel supplies, and environmental oversight. When California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), a 14,000-student university north [...]


Diesel Gensets Aim at the Future

Though newer distributed generation options like microturbines, solar, and batteries have grabbed the headlines, diesel remains the go-to option because of its established technology and reliability. But growing competition and new regulations are threatening its traditional role. Here’s what diesel is doing to stay relevant. If you pay attention to nothing but the headlines in [...]


Power Industry Policy Flip-Flops

When I started working in the energy industry in 1999, I had a conversation one day with Adam, a researcher who was writing a report for utilities that were marketing “green energy” programs. At the time, customers’ ability to purchase solar- or wind-generated electrons was limited to fewer utilities, and those companies were looking for [...]


EPA Finalizes Steam Electric Power Plant Effluent Guidelines

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized revisions to technology-based effluent limitations guidelines and standards, setting the first federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in wastewater discharges from steam electric power plants.  The new rule sets stringent new requirements for the discharge of arsenic, mercury, selenium, and nitrogen in wastewater streams from flue [...]

Ash Basin Upper Stormwater Drain 
A concrete pipe below this coal ash impoundment failed, releasing coal ash and ash pond water
into the Dan River. Credit; USFWS/Steven Alexander

Georgia Power to Close All Coal Ash Ponds in Response to EPA CCR Rule

Georgia Power plans to close all 29 of its coal ash ponds to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) December 2014–finalized rule and forthcoming guidelines governing effluent limitations. The Southern Co. subsidiary will consult with state regulators, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Public Service Commission, to develop and finalize the plan within [...]

"Washington, D.C. - 2007 aerial view" by Carol M. Highsmith

Senators Cite Conflicting Polls and Studies During Environmental Hearing

An old saying often attributed to Mark Twain is, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” Listening to the conflicting information presented by a variety of senators during a hearing on Capitol Hill Sept. 29, one has to wonder if Twain was covering a Senate hearing when he penned the phrase. The only witness at the [...]

Stock_Asheville Airport Lined Structural Fill_Duke Energy

Duke Reaches Final Settlement with North Carolina on Coal Ash

Duke Energy announced on Sept. 29 that it had agreed to pay a $7 million fine to resolve all groundwater issues with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) relating to its 14 facilities in the state. The settlement comes after Duke appealed a proposed $25.1 million fine the NCDEQ levied in March. The [...]