2022 has been as busy as ever for the Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association. We have had the pleasure of working with some great new members as we push for transparent, competitive provision of electric generation in the Carolinas. Below, we share some of our exciting developments from this year in both North and South Carolina.
CCEBA welcomed a number of new members this year. This included two new Board members Duke University and Leyline Renewable Capital, as well as
- Ampyr Energy
- Azimuth Renewables
- Capital Power
- Carolina Solar Services
- Clark Hill
- Birch Creek Development
- Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
- Longroad Energy
- Meridian Renewable Energy
- Oakhurst Energy
- Plus Power
- Recurrent Energy
- Sun Tribe
Carbon Plan: As part of House Bill 951, the N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC) is required to develop a Carbon Plan to reduce North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Carbon Plan – required for release by the end of this year – must meet these emissions goals using reliable and least-cost technologies. Duke Energy proposed a draft Carbon Plan in May of this year, and CCEBA has played a key role in contesting harmful provisions. Our organization dedicated months to analyzing documents and data, offering expert testimonies and cross-examinations, and representing stakeholders in meetings, hearings, and in the media, including several written comments and a three-week evidentiary hearing in September. As part of the negotiations, CCEBA presented a unified front with major intervenors and the N.C. Utilities Commission Public Staff to propose a settlement with Duke Energy. Though the settlement was ultimately refused by the utility, our engagement in the process established trust and credibility among all involved. It also succeeded in changing Duke Energy’s testimony, resulting in a commitment to a competitive bidding process for standalone storage.
During the Carbon Plan process, CCEBA convened a working group of clean energy members and joined with a diverse group of intervenors to prepare a 275-page compromise proposed order that differs in several material respects from the Plan proposed by Duke Energy. This proposed order will be considered as NCUC weighs options and finalizes the state Carbon Plan by the end of this month.
Energy Storage Power Purchase Agreement Framework: The NC Carbon Plan will include purchases of energy from solar plus storage facilities for the first time. Previously, there has not been any framework for competitive procurement of energy storage in North Carolina. CCEBA has worked with our members to develop a framework for this new PPA. This contractual setup and the PPA will foster the development of energy storage technologies..
Solar Decommissioning: Solar decommissioning has been a hot topic this year for both North and South Carolina. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a report with suggestions to standardize decommissioning and support future investments in sustainable decommissioning processes. This report did not provide any mandate for particular action, but the N.C. General Assembly will be developing new regulations next year. CCEBA has worked extensively to provide input and address decommissioning in the state. We wish to ensure proper planning around land use, repowering, and disposal. Our organization will continue to engage in the impending legislative process and advocate for effective policies and standards that do not impose unfair or cumbersome government regulation..
All Source Procurement: CCEBA negotiated a settlement with Dominion Energy South Carolina that will result in all source procurement of replacement generation for 400 MW of retiring natural gas capacity. This is the result of a challenge to a previous Dominion Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which would have included upgraded gas facilities – without competitive consideration of other less expensive energy sources.The negotiation yielded an All Source Procurement RFP opportunity that will allow competitive procurement of solar and storage to compete to replace retiring gas generation. This All Source Procurement RFP will be the first real all source procurement opportunity in the Southeastern United States.
Integration Charge Limitations: In the Dominion Energy avoided cost proceeding, CCEBA was successful in limiting the Dominion Energy solar integration charge to $1.78 per MW rather than the $4.00 proposed by Dominion. Integration charges are the fees required by a utility for a solar owner to interconnect to the power grid. The heightened fees Dominion proposed would have reduced revenues for solar projects by five to ten percent and more than doubled customers’ monthly service charge. CCEBA’s work will ensure that solar projects remain economically viable in South Carolina
Increased Solar + Storage in the SC Dominion Energy IRP: CCEBA interventions and work in stakeholder processes contributed to increased renewables in the Dominion Energy South Carolina IRP. The 2022 update includes significantly more solar and storage than originally proposed.
Market Reform: CCEBA represents the clean energy industry on the advisory board for the South Carolina Electricity Market Study. We support analyzing all options for electricity market reform in the state, which may include establishing or joining a regional transmission organization (RTO), creating an energy imbalance market (EIM), and a number of other options for competitive markets that benefit ratepayers.
Solar Siting and Decommissioning: South Carolina’s 2021-22 state budget directed South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to develop guidance and regulations to manage end-of-life solar panels and batteries. As in North Carolina, CCEBA has worked extensively with regulators, legislators, and stakeholders to share best practices for being community-friendly and business-friendly.
As busy as 2022 has been, we expect 2023 to be dramatically more eventful in our effort to open stagnant monopoly markets to affordable, reliable, clean energy.