Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity.
Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina’s energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy’s customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica, the utility’s solar farms sustained no damage.
Traditional energy providers have fared less well. A dam breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station, a retired coal-fired power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, has sent coal ash flowing into a nearby river. Another plant near Goldsboro has three flooded ash basins, according to the Associated Press, while in South Carolina, floodwaters are reportedly threatening pits that contain ash, an industrial waste from burning coal.
The lesson, according to environmentalists: Utilities’ vulnerability to major storms underscores the urgency of shifting to energy that it is not only clean and renewable, but also more resilient. [Continue reading…]