Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, offshore Oregon generates up to 845 Megawatts of clean wind energy. Photo courtesy of U.S Department of Energy

Op-Ed

By North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

North Carolinians deserve reliable, sustainable electricity at a reasonable cost, but because of increasingly severe weather and aging fossil fuel plants, that result could be less certain.

That’s why we now have a plan to ensure more reliable and sustainable electricity by moving more quickly toward low-cost renewable energy.

We only have to look at December’s severe cold weather to see more than half a million frustrated North Carolinians without power during the Christmas holidays.

According to Duke Energy, the Christmas Eve power outages resulted from equipment failures at coal and natural gas plants while renewable energy performed as expected.

Families spent Christmas Eve without lights or heat because of equipment failures at five different fossil fuel plants. This is unacceptable and North Carolina is taking action to prevent future power failures.

It starts with the plan to transition from fossil fuel-generated electricity to more clean energy.

In October 2021, I signed the bipartisan state law, House Bill 951, which set the first-ever carbon reduction goals for our state while working to keep costs low and reliability high.

As directed by this legislation, the Utilities Commission recently released a carbon plan with a balanced approach to increase renewables and make sure there is a more reliable electric grid. Solar energy is already cheaper than coal and gas, and rapid advancements in wind energy and battery storage technology will make them an even more essential part of a reliable, lower-cost energy mix.

We also need to make sure our electric grid is prepared to handle our everyday power needs and is resilient enough to withstand future severe storms.

My administration is planning investments in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Biden to help North Carolina build a more modern, resilient energy grid delivering reliable, lower cost, clean energy to our homes and businesses.

And let’s not forget the great jobs the clean energy economy is already bringing to North Carolina – not only did CNBC rank our state as the best in the country to do business, so did Business Facilities magazine which cited growth in our clean energy sector as a driving factor.

Clean, reliable and low-cost electricity is the backbone of our communities and a strong economy.

The significant investments to move the electric grid to more reliable, cleaner, renewable energy will help put more money in the pockets of North Carolinians.

Finally, there is almost universal scientific agreement that climate change is causing more severe weather and putting our planet at risk. Carbon emission reductions are essential in the fight against climate change, and high-paying clean energy jobs are a positive by-product of the transition away from fossil fuels.

North Carolina has a history of forward-looking innovation that has been the foundation of our success as a state. Now we’re deploying that tradition again to tackle our 21st century energy challenges. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Studies over and over show that wind and solar cannot meet current energy demands and produce only a tiny fraction of energy. Also the environmental concerns of the toxic contents of batteries, solar panels, windmill parts and the burying of these things in landfills. “Clean Energy” is an expensive, polluting business giving us less bang for the buck.
    Businesses figure out solutions and efficiencies better than government.
    But NOW the government is mandating changes that aren’t ready to happen. Change by fiat –as though waving a magic wand—to an instant transition is unhelpful at least, dangerous at worst.

    This article addresses some of these things. At the end they posit that though people have shifted energy sources over the centuries it has been through economics and necessity. https://fraserinstitute.org/blogs/renewable-energy-cant-replace-fossil-fuels

    A more recent article outlines the backlash across our country to solar and wind farms– and justly so.
    https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2023/01/12/solar_energy_rejections_soared_in_2022_875161.html

    A third article from 2017 showing arguments for both sides. I little dated now, but still raises very relevant concerns.
    https://developmenteducation.ie/feature/the-energy-debate-renewable-energy-cannot-replace-fossil-fuels/

    Innovation is great when it is viable. Fiats from government with arbitrary deadlines aren’t innovative.

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