By: Todd Luck
NC WARN is hoping for local support in its effort to replace half of all fossil fuels used for electricity in the state by 2025, and replace them all by 2030.
The environmental advocacy group held a meeting at Green Street United Methodist Church on Monday to present its plan. NC WARN Director Jim Warren said that the last four years have been the hottest on record, which he said contributes to things like the more severe fires and hurricanes seen this year. He said natural gas, which is methane, is a big cause of that. It’s 80-100 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat when it leaks or is vented unburned.
Warren said the solution is within reach. Advances in solar power, batteries to store the energy it generates and ways to conserve power have created an economical way that Duke Energy could switch to renewable energy. He said Duke Energy is generating less than 2 percent of its energy from renewables currently and plans to increase that to 6 percent by 2031, with 47 percent nuclear power and 41 percent coal and gas power. He believes Duke can do far more, and replace half its fossil fuels by 2025 and all of them by 2030.
The NC Clean Path 2025 plan, written by engineer Bill Powers, proposes putting solar power in the communities that use it and moving away from a reliance on a large power grid. Warren said the panels would be put on top of buildings and in vacant lots. He said this plan would cost a small fraction of the planned modernization of the current grid and the pipeline and natural gas plants Duke is planning to build while creating thousands more jobs.
“There are no technical or economic reasons not to do this,” said Warren.