Last week, a coalition of environmental and clean energy groups presented their detailed alternative proposals to Duke Energy’s dirty carbon plan. These groups highlighted that Duke’s plan relies heavily on building new infrastructure to transport and burn natural gas, as well as unproven new mini-nuclear plants. By contrast, the alternative plan calls for increased energy efficiency, solar, wind, and utility-scale battery storage. It would produce more carbon reductions in less time and at a lower cost to electric customers.
Last year’s House Bill 951 required the state Utilities Commission (NCUC) to create a carbon plan to meet the bill’s carbon reduction targets. The first plan is due at the end of this year, and another one must be created every two years thereafter, adjusting for new realities. Duke got the first crack at submitting what they deemed realistic to maintain their profit margins. Now the people get to have our say with plans like this one and at the ongoing series of public hearings NCUC is holding across the state. The final two in-person hearings are this week in Asheville and Charlotte, followed by two virtual hearings.
“Duke’s carbon plan is deeply flawed,” said Luis Martinez, director of Southeast energy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He added that the coalition’s “modeling shows that a less costly plan, which also significantly reduces emissions, is possible for North Carolina.”
In addition to NRDC, groups in the coalition which filed the alternative plan include the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Sierra Club.