North Carolina’s Plan To Be Carbon Neutral

The population of the state of North Carolina is approximately 10.6 million people[1]. In July  2020, utilities used natural gas (33.5%), nuclear (28.1%), coal (26.4%), and renewable energy (12.1%) to generate electricity in the state[2]. Solar, hydropower, and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in North Carolina.

North Carolina’s use of natural gas and renewable energy contributes to the state’s below average cost of electricity. In July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in North Carolina was 11.25 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

In 2019, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued the Clean Energy Plan[3], which mandates the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities to 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Over the past year, North Carolina utilities have accelerated the move from coal-fired plants to clean, low cost renewable energy. Recent renewable energy projects in the state include:

  • 208 MW Wind Farm – Spanish utility, Iberdrola has recently commissioned the Amazon US East wind farm, which is located approximately 150 miles east of North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh.
  • 101 MW Solar Power Purchase Agreement – Duke University has recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with state utility, Duke Energy to buy electricity from three different solar projects. The agreement will supply approximately 50% of the university’s annual electricity requirements.
  • 69 MW Solar Park – Duke Energy is nearing completion of the construction of the Maiden Creek solar park, located approximately 35 miles northwest of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The solar park is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2020.
  • 35 MW Solar Power Purchase Agreement –The City of Charlotte has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Duke Energy to buy electricity from two solar project, which will be completed in 2022.
  • 25 MW Solar Park – Duke Energy is nearing completion of the construction of the Gaston solar park, located approximately 25 miles west of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The solar park is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2020.
  • 1 MW Floating Solar + 2 MW Storage – Duke Energy has begun work to build a floating solar photovoltaic array plus energy storage for the United States Army installation at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

North Carolina is one of a growing number of states that have mandated that the electric utilities in the state become carbon neutral in the near future. North Carolina has worked with state utilities to establish a plan to achieve their carbon neutral target.

North Carolina doesn’t have the major hydropower resources of the Pacific Northwest or the relentless onshore wind resources of the Great Plains States. However, North Carolina does have a renewable energy plan designed to maximize the state’s renewable energy resources.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

 

[1] North Carolina Population 2020, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

[3] North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

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