Lunch Break (2/3/16): Group releases report detailing possibility of transitioning CMS to solar energy

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A group of advocates representing the Repower Our Schools coalition gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center this morning to announce the release of an 88-page North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center report that lays out a detailed plan to save Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools millions of dollars by transitioning to solar energy. The report provides a technical assessment showing how CMS could meet 100 percent of its electricity needs through on-site solar installations at schools, saving the school system more than $42 million over 25 years in the process. The current plan would be to implement a "partnership flip" with an outside investor, who could claim tax credits to lower the cost of the project, since the schools can't do so due to their nonprofit status. Advocates are calling for state legislators to change energy laws in North Carolina that currently prohibits third party energy sales (making it illegal for any solar project not owned by Duke Energy to sell energy directly to schools). Changing these laws and allowing schools to enter into a power purchase agreement with a third party owner could up the saving by 14 times, according to the report. In August 2015, Creative Loafing spoke with Hanna Mitchell of Repower our Schools about the group's plans. (Ryan Pitkin, CL) 

A 12-year-old boy reported missing in west Charlotte yesterday has been found and reunited with his family, according to police. CMPD sent out a release just before 11 p.m. last night saying that Damarion Young had been last seen on Bromwich Drive in west Charlotte. The department sent out an update after 8 a.m. this morning stating that the boy had returned home. (Ryan Pitkin, CL) 

Road work on Independence Boulevard has reportedly reached a stand-still after contractor DeVere Construction crews abandoned the project this week. The $51-million project, which has spanned three years, was originally projected to be completed by October 2016. Road crews have reportedly been instructed to “stop working,” and the main construction office on site has been left empty. NCDOT officials have warned the contractor that if work does not resume, the company will breach their contract. (Liz Foster, WSOC) 

A $3-million judgement against North Carolina Department of Transportation for a 2009 car accident  that took the lives of three people was upheld by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision yesterday. The crash occurred on N.C. 49, when two cars were drag racing and struck another driver as she executed a left turn onto the road. Cynthia Furr and her 2-year old daughter were killed, as well as the 13-year-old passenger in one of the cars involved in the race. Families of the deceased argued in court that the accident occurred because NCDOT and Crescent Resources, a developer, had failed to install traffic lights that were part of the contracted expansion of N.C. 49 in 2006. NCDOT has the option to appeal the case further in the NC Supreme Court. (Steve Harrison, Charlotte Observer) 

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