Since the program launched during the summer, Solarize Chatham County has installed 56 solar panel systems on homes, which will generate 319 kilowatts of solar power, according to Jim Warren of N.C. Warn, a Durham-based clean energy advocate.
The 16 people who attended watched a few short films about coal-related pollution. That was followed by a discussion led by organizer Nick Wood of NC Warn, a group that advocates for climate protection through the use of clean energy, and Christine Ellis of the Winyah Rivers Foundation.
The event, billed as a “Moral March to the Polls,” was sponsored by a coalition of groups that included the AFL-CIO, Working America, Guilford County Association of Educators, NC WARN, Beloved Community Center, Communication Workers of America and the Greensboro chapter of the NAACP.
Added Jim Warren, executive director of North Carolina-based environmental group NC WARN: “Some parts of the Duke Energy company are doing some wonderful, progressive things. What about us? What about your monopoly prisoners in these southeastern states?”
Attorney General Roy Copper’s office along with the environmental group North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, or NC WARN say Duke is charging homeowners too much, and super consumers like server farms and factories too little.
In the span of five years, the solar industry in North Carolina has grown from nearly non-existent to fourth-largest in the nation, behind California, Arizona, and New Jersey. The pace is accelerating, with solar capacity set to more than double in the state, at least this year. The state’s powerful electric utilities are pushing changes that could blot out the industry in North Carolina.
Jim Warren, executive director of the advocacy group NC WARN, said he sympathizes with Rogers’ push for a greener future but adds that North Carolina, where Duke is still dominated by fossil fuels, has little to show for his efforts. Duke is currently 41 percent coal, 33 percent nuclear, 24 percent gas, and 2 percent hydropower and solar energy.
This N&O editorial is consistent with NC WARN’s view: that Duke Energy is not doing enough to promote solar power.
There’s good news for alternative energy and northeastern North Carolina in the announcement that Duke Energy Renewables will build a massive solar energy project in Pasquotank County. But this sunny story also casts a shadow.
John Runkle, an attorney at NC WARN, a Durham, N.C.-based climate advocacy group, said. “We’re very concerned about any plans for the ultimate storage of that [waste],” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re not just passing the problem on.”
Op-Ed by Jim Warren. Closing our eyes won’t make Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash dumps go away. This tragedy for Dan River communities has now expanded into an enormous statewide toxic waste challenge requiring unprecedented leadership. The General Assembly cannot kick the ash can down the road.
Your contribution is tax-deductible.