12 principles emphasize need for accelerated, equitable clean energy transition
People Power NC, a coalition of clean energy and social justice organizations, released 12 principles that the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) should consider when crafting its carbon plan for the state. Under House Bill 951, which was signed into law in October 2021, the NCUC must develop a roadmap for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
People Power NC’s report includes a call for strong investments in renewable energy sources like solar, a 2030 closure deadline for coal plants, and the exclusion of any new gas infrastructure. “When it comes to fossil gases like methane, the science is incredibly clear,” says Sally Robertson, Policy Coordinator at NC WARN. “Methane from gas operations will set our progress back, at a time when we urgently need to move forward. We have the tools we need to decarbonize. Now, it’s a matter of scaling them up and making the necessary investments.”
The principles also focus on the planning process itself, highlighting the need for inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility. “The carbon plan is going to impact every household and community in the Tar Heel State,” says Ethan Blumenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of Good Solar. “It’s vital that folks understand the important role they play and feel empowered to engage with this process.” The report specifically asserts that environmental justice communities — those overburdened by fossil fuel pollution and disproportionately high energy bills — must have their voices heard.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the North Carolina Utilities Commission to move us toward a thriving clean energy future that works for everyone,” says Lindsey Hallock, Southeast Senior Regional Director at Vote Solar. “North Carolina has been breaking ground in the south, but we need to build on our momentum, not slow it down. This is no time for the status quo.”
Duke Energy, the investor-owned utility that serves more than 3.5 million North Carolina residents, has been instructed to file a proposed carbon plan with the NCUC this spring. As part of the planning process, Duke is required to hold three stakeholder engagement meetings, the first of which is scheduled for Tuesday, January 25.
The following organizations contributed to and have endorsed the 12 principles for a carbon plan in the public interest:
- Vote Solar
- Good Solar
- NC Alliance to Protect our People and the Places we Live (APPPL)
- 350 Charlotte
- Sierra Club
- North Carolina Justice Center
- North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light
- NC WARN
- Clean Aire NC
- 350 Triangle
- North Carolina Conservation Network
- North Carolina League of Conservation Voters