Breaking rank with the corporate giant is a good first step but Cooper must do much more to become a climate protector
We appreciate Gov. Roy Cooper for criticizing Duke Energy leaders’ Pro-Carbon Plan as reported today by The News & Observer. The article’s headline is Cooper criticizes Duke Energy carbon reduction plan, calls for more renewable resources.
Cooper’s voice is yet another headwind faced by Duke Energy executives. For the Governor to realize Duke’s plans are climate- and community-disastrous is a first step toward North Carolina making the major course correction needed to stop making the climate crisis worse.
But Gov. Cooper can and must do much more. Hopefully, his statement is more than a one-time gesture intended to blunt the growing criticism of him being aligned for years with Duke Energy instead of climate scientists and the public.
Crucially, has the Governor conveyed his criticism directly to Duke Energy deciders? If so, did he press them to dramatically change course and quit greenwashing the public?
We urge the Governor to build upon this step by using his strong public voice to help North Carolinians understand the climate challenge that’s upon us and the urgent need to turn away from Duke Energy’s high-risk, dangerous and false “solutions”.
Perhaps Cooper’s statement will finally begin to roll back Duke Energy’s ability to pass-off its “expand fracked gas and nukes while stifling renewables” as climate protection.
North Carolina sorely needs a truly open debate about our climate and energy path – not the secretive, rigged Utilities Commission process dominated by Duke Energy’s monopoly influence.
We again call on the Governor to initiate an unprecedented, open process that stops locking out consideration of genuine climate solutions such as local solar-plus-storage – the fastest, cheapest and most equitable way North Carolina can meet the Governor’s climate goals.
We appreciate him calling on the Utilities Commission to force Duke to change. We urge him to demand that the commission stop rubber-stamping Duke Energy’s wishes and helping the giant monopoly cheat the public out of a fair consideration of the state’s path forward.
NC WARN has laid out a number of specific steps the Governor can use to become a climate protector. We are eager to convert our long-running criticism of Roy Cooper into praise.
See NC WARN’s statewide TV/on-line ads at StopDukeEnergy.com.
See an excerpt from Wagner’s article:
Cooper criticizes Duke Energy carbon reduction plan, calls for more renewable resources
By Adam Wagner, News & Observer
Gov. Roy Cooper this week detailed concerns about Duke Energy’s proposal to reduce emissions, saying the state’s largest electric utility is looking toward new nuclear when it should instead be leaning into solar and wind.
“Duke needs to do more to make sure that we get to our goals, and I hope the Utilities Commission will force them to go there,” Cooper said during an event Wednesday at Schneider Electric’s RaleighHub in Morrisville. The remarks were the first time Cooper has publicly addressed Duke’s updated plans to reduce carbon dioxide.
A 2019 law requires Duke to slash carbon dioxide emissions 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Those goals are guided by plans the N.C. Utilities Commission must approve every two years.
Environmental and renewable energy advocates criticized Duke’s second iteration of the plan, which was introduced this summer, arguing it relies too little on solar energy and offshore wind and too much on natural gas over the short-term and hydrogen and nuclear technologies that haven’t been built at scale to meet the 2050 goal.
Under the 2019 law, Duke’s resource plans must consider reliability and affordability in addition to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Duke has said any energy generation like solar or wind that depends on the weather must be balanced with a source of power that can be called upon when necessary such as a natural gas powerplant, battery storage or nuclear reactor. That balancing can account for both new resources, as well as those Duke is already using to generate power.
In response to Cooper’s remarks, Duke Energy spokesman Bill Norton said, “Governor Cooper is right that we need more resources to accommodate the exponential growth North Carolina is enjoying, which is why we’re focused on an ‘all of the above’ strategy to deliver reliable, affordable power that’s available 24/7 for our customers.”