Driven by Governor Cooper’s bold Executive Order 80, North Carolina is poised to lead on climate with an ambitious clean energy agenda. The state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has helped spearhead a successful stakeholder process, culminating in the newly unveiled draft clean energy plan.
The stakeholder process has been critical in unearthing North Carolina’s true, untapped potential to act on climate. The top priority among participants was unequivocal—regulating carbon emissions, in other words, cutting climate pollution.
After participating in all stakeholder sessions, we have come away with an even greater understanding of the state’s unique opportunity to make the necessary transition from aging, uneconomic fossil generation to clean energy—and the many benefits that come with making this urgent transition. In fact, reducing reliance on dirty fossil fuels and slashing climate pollution would also mean lower energy bills and more jobs for North Carolinians.
The plan includes key policy recommendations, including:
- Modernizing the utility incentives, tools and planning process
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 60-70% below 2005 levels by 2030
- Reducing the energy burden of low-income residents
Governor Cooper's pollution reduction targets in Executive Order 80 are significant, aggressive, and feasible for the state and the power sector. Clean, renewable energy like solar power already represents nearly $8 billion in investments and 7,000 permanent local jobs—and NRDC’s modeling projects that solar will continue to flourish in the state for the foreseeable future.
We are confident that under Governor Cooper’s leadership, North Carolina will tap the low-cost climate potential of its power sector and prioritize policies and actions that accelerate the transition from dirty to clean power.