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Making Energy Work In North Carolina

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Originally published on the ECOreport.

North Carolina’s economic leaders, and some politicians, know that the next 14 years will be crucial. This is already America’s #3 solar state, with 1.93 GW of installed capacity. The area surrounding Raleigh has earned the nickname “Silicon Valley of smart grid.” This state is making impressive strides with its intelligent and high-performance buildings, bioenergy, and wind energy. Yet government has not taken a comprehensive look at its energy economy and energy policies for about a decade. So, this year’s North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) conference focuses on making energy work in North Carolina.


How North Carolina Will Make Energy Work By 2030

“Our state needs to develop a shared vision for our energy economy,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the NCSEA.

He added, “Over the last several years, the members of our legislature have learned a great deal about companies, jobs and tax benefits from clean energy in their districts. They have become much better connected with the people who are at work, making the investments and doing the hiring. That has led to politicians asking what role can policy play in enabling a clean energy economy. We are very excited that more and more of our elected officials are becoming interested.”

The target year is 2030. North Carolina’s Clean Power Plan is calling for a reduction of the state’s CO2 emissions to 51,266,234 short tons. This is also the deadline for the state utilities’ Integrated Resource Plan. (For example, Duke Energy intends to roughly double its installed solar capacity.0 NCSEA predicts that with a unified vision and action plan, North Carolina’s cleantech sector could be employing 60,000 people and producing $35 billion in annual revenues by 2030.

State capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina - by Mark Goebel (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

Conversations Over The Past Year

“There are a lot of real solutions out there that utilities, industry, and consumers can utilize together until we make some policy, and possibly regulatory, changes. We’ve had a lot of bilateral conversations and stakeholder conversations over the past year. There has been a lot of frustrations, but also a belief we can address our challenges together,” said Urlaub.

Foreign investors recognize the region’s potential. German firms have invested more in the Carolinas than any other region of the United States.

Utilities Desire Closer Involvement

North Carolina’s utilities desire closer involvement in both distributed energy resources and utility-scale renewables. Roughly 96% of US wind farms were developed by “non-utility entities.” The situation is similar with solar projects.

“Utilities tend to acquire a project after it is built. That is happening more and more. As the cost of solar comes down, for example, we are seeing Duke Energy owning more solar farms,” said Urlaub.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2014-03-19 00:27:51Z | |

Making Energy Work 2016

NCSEA’s 8th annual Making Energy Work conference will be at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, Raleigh, NC, October 3 & 4, 2016. Visit the event’s homepage, view a list of speakers, or register to attend the conference. For more information on Making Energy Work 2016, visit, follow the hashtag #MEW16, or contact Christy Marcinkowski at

Photo Credit: Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director, NCSEA; state capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina — by Mark Goebel (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2014-03-19 00:27:51Z | |

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Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.


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