RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina continues to recover from one of the longest recessions in our nation’s history – marked by ongoing high unemployment. Retaining jobs and fostering economic development has become a priority for businesses, policymakers and residents across the state. Since the passage of the Southeast’s first renewable energy and energy efficiency law in 2007, the clean energy sectors – broadly categorized as renewable energy and energy efficiency – have burst onto the scene and are found in every region of the state.
North Carolina boasts an international smart grid cluster, two of the 50 fastest growing companies in the nation (both are renewable energy companies), and regional initiatives, including the Evolve Energy Partnership, Charlotte New Energy Capital and the Research Triangle CleanTech Cluster.
These assets are supported by a diverse sector with industry activities across all major focus areas. In only a few short years, the clean energy sector has become a North Carolina success story and a valued component of our state’s economic landscape.
These and other findings are outlined in the 2011 Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Industries Census. The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSESA) presented the Census during its annual Making Energy Work conference on Wednesday Nov. 9 at the Raleigh Convention Center.
“One of the key findings of the 2011 census is that the clean energy sector in North Carolina is really a statewide sector. While we do find concentrations of specific technologies like Smart Grid in the Research Triangle, we have found that in addition to the major city hubs like Charlotte and Raleigh, there is an ever-increasing physical presence of firms in the clean energy sector in areas like Hickory, Boone and other areas,” said Rich Crowley, Manager of Market Research & Spatial Analysis for the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “It is important to note that this is using a conservative metric – companies are actually reporting these locations. Unlike national surveys that use large top down database approaches, the NCSEA industry clean energy sector maps are locations that companies are verifying in 2011. In short, there is much more certainty and accuracy with the NCSEA maps since it’s coming directly from industry.”