North Carolina Passes Bipartisan Energy Legislation
New law calls for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
In October, NC Governor Roy Cooper signed historic bipartisan energy legislation into law. House Bill 951, titled Energy Solutions for North Carolina, sets the state’s electric sector on a path to reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades, utilizing least-cost solutions with a focus on maintaining or enhancing reliability.
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives supported the law because it recognizes the importance of creating a framework to support sustainability while prioritizing reliability and affordability.
Cooperatives advocated for these priorities throughout the legislative process on behalf of the state’s 2.5 million electric co-op members.
“This legislation includes well thought-out provisions to chart a path for North Carolina to responsibly decrease carbon emissions while ensuring consumer protections, also allowing for technology advancements over time,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president & COO of Association Services for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
“We will continue to advance our commitment to building a brighter future for electric co-op members and their communities, while making affordability and reliability top priorities.”
The law applies primarily to Duke Energy, setting a goal for the investor-owned utility to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and does not place any specific mandates on electric cooperatives.
However, solutions identified by Duke Energy to meet its goal will likely be comparable to those electric co-ops have implemented or plan to implement in their voluntary pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Devising a plan to reach Duke Energy’s emissions reduction goals falls to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, with an implementation plan due December 2022. The plan will be revisited every two years to ensure the most current and effective technologies are being utilized. Under the new law, the NC Utilities Commission has the authority to retire coal-fired power plants and review cost-competitive replacements including renewable generation, batteries and natural gas-fired plants.
“We look forward to providing further input as the new law is implemented,” Hotchkiss said. “We will continue to advance our commitment to building a brighter future for electric co-op members and their communities, while making affordability and reliability top priorities.”
Monitoring legislation for members