The bipartisan legislation that created the Carbon Plan process was lauded as a historic opportunity for North Carolina to create a clean energy future for our state, one that fully capitalizes on the benefits of clean energy deployment for our communities, our economic development efforts, our environment, and our rate paying businesses and families.
While CCEBA appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Carbon Plan process and the efforts of all involved, the Order entered by the Utilities Commission missed that historic opportunity for North Carolina to fully embrace the transition to more reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy.
During the hearings, CCEBA and other intervenors presented ample evidence that solar and solar-plus-storage offered the most proven, affordable, and scalable generation resources, and the least cost way to achieve the requirements of House Bill 951. Despite that overwhelming evidence, CCEBA is concerned the Carbon Plan instead largely supports Duke Energy’s plan to rely upon expensive and unpredictable natural gas and ‘advanced nuclear’ – a speculative technology projected even by utilities to cost many times as much as any other generation. The Plan favors the same models, predictions and monopoly control that left many North Carolinians in the dark on Christmas Eve. CCEBA believes the Plan will shortchange proven, least-cost clean energy sources. Moreover, it includes many financial incentives for the monopoly utility and disincentives to competition that could otherwise create significant ratepayer savings.
Leading up to the Carbon Plan’s review in 2024, CCEBA will work with regulators and policymakers to address the issues left undecided by the Plan to help ensure that ratepayers and customers are not disadvantaged. In our government- regulated monopoly system, the more money electric utilities spend, the more they make. Renewable energy and battery storage may not provide the highest rate of return for the electric utility, but it does deliver material cost savings to the ratepayers. In the end we hope decision makers see the enormous value of renewables as a clean, reliable, and most importantly, low-cost source of generation.
CCEBA does applaud the Commission’s push to improve transmission planning and transparency and the approval of needed transmission upgrades in the southeast part of the state. Though modest, we believe that the solar and storage resources that were approved in the Plan will demonstrate the truth of our arguments and show that further adoption of renewable energy and energy storage will serve North Carolinians both in increased reliability and savings. We look forward to working with stakeholders and regulators on these and other issues.