The Carbon Plan

A Chance to Reshape North Carolina's Clean Energy Future

The Carbon Plan should be an opportunity to reshape North Carolina’s energy future and protect community health. That means no new fossil fuel infrastructure or power plants.

Unfortunately, the draft Carbon Plan proposed by Duke Energy fails to meet the moment, calling for more investments in polluting, outdated fossil fuels. Continuing to rely on gas and coal would put our state’s climate targets out of reach while pumping out air pollutants that jeopardize our health and make us sick.

Divider Line

What We're Doing About It

CleanAIRE NC is working with partners and communities around North Carolina to create a clean energy Carbon Plan that protects people, not fossil fuel profits. We are urging the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) to do their job and not hand this process over to the utility monopoly they are supposed to regulate.

We are speaking up at hearings, submitting public comments, and empowering communities to make their voices heard. We are committed to working with the NCUC and other stakeholders to ensure North Carolina has the strongest Plan possible.

Divider Line
shruti rally sign

Hundreds of people have gathered across North Carolina for public hearings to protest Duke Energy’s proposed Carbon Plan; a plan that includes more expensive, climate-changing fossil fuels and higher energy rates for North Carolina residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NC Carbon Plan?

The Carbon Plan is a roadmap for reducing climate-changing carbon emissions in North Carolina. 

In simple terms, the Carbon Plan is a promise to use cleaner energy, help people save energy and money, and strengthen North Carolina’s environment and economy.

How (and by how much) will the Carbon Plan cut emissions?

House Bill 951, passed by the NC General Assembly in 2021, set specific targets the Carbon Plan must achieve. These include reducing North Carolina’s electric power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 70% below 2005 levels by 2030, and attaining complete carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Meeting these targets will require curtailing the use of fossil fuels for power generation, improving energy storage and efficiency in our electric grid, and ramping up clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Why does the Carbon Plan matter?

Carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion are by far the largest contributors to climate change. And in North Carolina, electricity generation is the second largest source of greenhouse gases (behind transportation), accounting for a third of our state’s emissions. We cannot meaningfully address the climate crisis without a fundamental shift in how we produce energy.

Climate change is already wrecking havoc on North Carolina’s communities, fueling severe heat waves, extreme weather events, wildfires, and rising sea levels. These changes have devastating consequences for human health, and will only grow worse as climate change continues to intensify.

Air pollution from fossils also degrades North Carolina’s air quality, leading to significant health problems such as respiratory illness. In fact, nine of the ten leading causes of death in North Carolina are caused or exacerbated by fossil fuel emissions.

Beyond our public health, shifting to clean energy will also yield tremendous economic and societal benefits. Energy efficiency measures and a growth in renewable energy will create jobs, lower household electric bills, and stimulate local economies. It will also improve the public’s access to affordable and reliable energy, making communities less vulnerable to energy supply disruptions and price fluctuations.

Who is involved in creating the Carbon Plan?

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) is legally required to develop a plan that “takes all reasonable steps” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electric generating facilities. The NCUC is a state regulatory body that oversees certain utility companies in North Carolina, including Duke Energy.

While they strongly consider input from Duke Energy, the public, and other stakeholders, the NCUC is ultimately responsible for creating and submitting a final Carbon Plan. Think of the NCUC like a referee in a sports game who makes sure everyone plays by the rules.

Duke Energy has been tasked by the NCUC to propose a draft plan for reducing carbon emissions. Duke Energy, one of the largest utilities in the United States, plays a significant role in the generation, distribution, and sale of electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses in North Carolina. While they’ve begun increasing their investments in renewables, Duke Energy still heavily relies on dirty sources, such as coal and natural gas, to make electricity.

The General Public also plays a huge role in shaping the Carbon Plan. By voicing support for cleaner and more efficient energy, North Carolinians can encourage Duke Energy to invest in more sustainable practices while persuading the NCUC to approve a plan that hits our state’s emission targets.

Other key stakeholders include:

  • Intervenors are individuals or groups formally involved in legal or regulatory processes. Intervenors are full participants in the proceeding and make legal arguments, conduct discovery, file testimony, cross-examine witnesses, and are subject to cross-examination by the other parties in the case if called to testify.
  • The Public Staff is an independent agency created in 1977 to review proposed utility rate changes and the adequacy of service provided by any public utility, and make appropriate recommendations to the NCUC. As with all proceedings before the NCUC, the Public Staff will represent the using and consuming public in this matter. The Public Staff will work to ensure that the carbon reduction goals are met using a “least cost” approach, minimizing the rate impacts to Duke Energy customers as much as possible.

Who decides on the final Carbon Plan?

The NCUC is legally responsible for creating and submitting the final Carbon Plan.

Wait, doesn’t North Carolina already have a Carbon Plan?

The NCUC issued the state’s first Carbon Plan in December 2022. The NCUC must review and renew the Carbon Plan every two years, however, updating it to reflect changes in available technologies and energy sources.

Unfortunately, the NCUC gave Duke Energy most of it asked for in 2022, with more investments in polluting, outdated fossil fuels that will put the Carbon Plan’s legally required emissions targets out of reach. We cannot allow that to happen again. North Carolinians must demand a 2024 Carbon Plan that utilizes our full solar and offshore wind potential, sets ambitious timelines for closing dirty power plants, and heavily relies on input from communities and labor.

What is the timeline for the new Carbon Plan?

While we are currently waiting for the NCUC to provide more information on when public hearings and a public comment period will occur, we expect both to begin sometime after the new year.

Sign up for Updates

Sign up to receive updates on the NC Carbon Plan and for future opportunities on how you can get involved.