Published on February 5th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Huge Solar & Wind Power Spills (+ Videos From NC Coal Ash Spill)

February 5th, 2014 by  

BREAKING: There’s currently a huge solar power spill going on in much of the world, and there are also wind power spills going on in various other parts of the world. It’s insanity. The result seems to be tons of clean electricity and falling wholesale electricity prices (sometimes even below $0). Again, these solar and wind power spills are rocking the planet! Be careful out there!

(In other news: some coal ash seems to have gotten loose and found its way into a river in North Carolina. Nothing to see here, move along now.)

In all seriousness, the Global Coal Campaign Coordinator from Waterkeeper Alliance, Donna Lisenby, has been at the spill site all week on the Dan River. Above are videos her crew just sent along. And here’s some commentary:

As you can clearly see, Duke Energy still has not contained the spill. It started on Sundayand has not stopped. Duke continues to dump decades of accumulated coal ash waste into the Dan River. Their waste turned the Dan River completely gray and the plume continues to move into Virginia where downstream public drinking water providers are attempting to filter out the coal ash waste before finished, treated water is sent to families and businesses. 

It started raining here in Eden, NC last night and we expect the spill to get worse because our aerial and on the water inspections yesterday revealed that Duke HAS NOT constructed any containment systems to stop more ash from entering the river. Duke initially reported the spill volumes of 50,000 to 82,000 tons and up to 27 million gallons. In reality, the amount of coal ash entering the Dan River is increasing daily and will likely get much higher due to the rains.

Here is a blog post I wrote about the spill showing pictures of the poorly maintained coal ash dam.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Larry

    That section of the river will be sterile for a long time. Coal ash slurry has a pH in the 12-14 range. It would take trillions of gallons of clean water to dilute it to the range where living organisms could survive [pH 4-9]. This could have been totally avoided if the regulators had done their job and required the containment system to be properly constructed and located out of the floodplain. The stormwater should NEVER have been routed through the site, but AROUND it

  • Matt

    Let me yes you run a 50 inch pipe under you unlined retention pond and then you are surprised when years later the pipe and pond connect to drain the pond.

    • Rick Kargaard

      People are often blind to obvious dangers until after the accident.

      • Bob_Wallace

        That’s a fact….

    • Calamity_Jean

      I’ve sometimes wondered whether coal-burning power companies count on these “accidents” to get rid of the coal ash for them.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “Oops, now who would have ever imagined that happening?”

        Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge….

  • dynamo.joe

    2 million Americans diagnosed annually with skin cancer. Solar “spills” not necessarily a joke.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Pretty lame….

    • Doug Cutler

      That would actually be an excellent point . . . but in a health blog.

      • S.Nkm

        No it isn’t a good point, because the sun can’t be switched off.

        • Doug Cutler

          I was just sayin’ its a good idea to let the all solar panels soak up the sun, not your skin. Not quit sure of your angle there . . .

    • i was referring to electricity production (power) not personal exposure to the sun (which is still highly recommended — as a Florida boy living in Poland can very eagerly tell you).

      but yes, people should be careful about that.

  • Doug Cutler

    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

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