FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CleanAIRE NC Statement on NC Utilities Commission’s Release of Inaugural Carbon Plan

On December 30th, 2022, the NC Utilities Commission issued a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next several decades. While its Carbon Plan includes many commendable provisions, many strategies it outlines put North Carolina at risk of missing key emission reduction targets. 

The bi-partisan legislation HB 951, signed by Governor Cooper in 2021, requires North Carolina to reduce power-sector emissions by 70% by 2030. The Carbon Plan lays out several policies to achieve this goal, encouraging the growth of solar, wind, and battery capacity. Unfortunately, the final plan also allows Duke Energy to continue pursuing new fossil fuel resources, including increased methane gas build-out, completely negating those positive steps. 

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, many times more potent than carbon dioxide. The potential for leakage in the extraction, production, and transmission of methane and the carbon dioxide released from methane combustion threatens North Carolina’s climate goals. It pushes our global climate past its tipping point.

Our state must do more to curb greenhouse gas emissions. CleanAIRE NC works tirelessly for those solutions, with several critical upcoming advocacy opportunities.

The NC Utilities Commission will hold hearings on a proposed 17.7% rate hike throughout February and March. Duke Energy claims this increase is needed to cover its Carbon Plan. What’s clear is that such a rate hike would disproportionately burden low-income households. CleanAIRE NC advocates for increased protections for ratepayers and ensures that any new infrastructure or rate hikes from Duke Energy are necessary, equitable, and moving our state closer to our climate goals.

Finally, it’s important to note that the Carbon Plan process is not over. The NC Utilities Commission will reevaluate the plan every two years to ensure it represents the best path forward for our state. CleanAIRE NC looks forward to opportunities to push for a more robust program in future discussions. It encourages all North Carolinians to raise their voices for a proper clean energy future.

Click here to read our initial, immediate response to the Carbon Plan’s release.

CleanAIRE NC is a statewide nonprofit organization advocating for the health of all North Carolinians by pursuing equitable and collaborative solutions that address climate change and air pollution.

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