Clean Energy Buyers Association Pushes for Renewable Energy Options in North Carolina
The Clean Energy Buyers Association, which includes NASCAR, Lowe's, and Walmart, is advocating for renewable energy options in North Carolina. The state's regulated utility market limits customers' ability to purchase clean energy, unlike neighboring Virginia. The association is engaging with Duke Energy's long-term plan for carbon emissions reduction, as it will determine whether customers can access clean energy in Duke's territory. Economic considerations, such as the lower costs and volatile fuel prices associated with renewables, are driving major corporations to invest in clean energy. The association aims for a 90% carbon-free electric grid nationwide by 2030.
The Economic Benefits of Clean Energy
Despite the backlash against climate-conscious investing, companies are increasingly choosing clean energy for economic reasons. Volatile fossil fuel prices and the costs of remediation make renewables more attractive.
Major corporations are setting ambitious climate targets that often exceed those of their servicing utilities.
The Clean Energy Buyers Association asserts that its members have procured a significant amount of carbon-free energy since 2014, accounting for roughly a third of all U.S. clean energy capacity today.
Challenges in the Southeastern Region
The Southeastern region, including North Carolina, has limited opportunities for large customers to access clean energy due to regulated monopolies.
Duke Energy's long-term plan, which aims to cut emissions to zero by 2050, is being scrutinized by the association and other critics who believe it lacks ambition.
The association hopes that the Carbon Plan process will open up opportunities for increased market competition and dissolve barriers to clean energy investment.
Advocating for Competition and Market Options
The Clean Energy Buyers Association is advocating for more competition in the Carolinas and the establishment of a wholesale regional marketplace.
A regional transmission organization could potentially save the Southeast hundreds of billions of dollars and significantly reduce emissions.
The association also highlights the need for Duke Energy to evaluate reserve sharing and consider tapping power reserves from other utilities in the region for increased reliability and room for clean energy.
The Impact and Potential of the Association's Involvement
The Clean Energy Buyers Association's involvement in the Carbon Plan process could potentially lead to legislative changes and the creation of a wholesale regional market.
Companies may consider relocating or investing elsewhere if clean energy options are not available to meet their goals.
Duke Energy emphasizes its commitment to clean energy and economic development in North Carolina.