NC Sustainable Energy Association

Regulatory Landscape

NCSEA is proud to offer our Gigawatt business members exclusive access to important policies and regulations that are currently impacting the growth of sustainable energy in North Carolina. After you browse through the information provided below, please contact us with any additional questions.

Understanding North Carolina's Regulatory Landscape

Several entities shape North Carolina's regulatory landscape as it relates to the energy industry. Because the energy industry is quite broad, encompassing sectors such as electricity, gas, and transportation, these summaries more narrowly focus on the electricity sector in North Carolina in order to provide the most benefit to NCSEA members:

Federal Regulators and Policies - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil and oversees compliance of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act ("PURPA").

State Regulators - The North Carolina Utilities Commission ("NCUC") is an administrative agency of the North Carolina General Assembly. Among other things, the NCUC regulates the electric industry and is responsible for approving the rates charged to consumers as well as for reporting on the progress of North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard ("REPS").

State Policy Makers -The Energy Policy Council and the State Energy Office are two agencies that work towards growing sustainable energy within North Carolina.

State Policies - An overview of North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard ("REPS") and other North Carolina policies.

Meeting REPS through Load Management and Renewable Generation

While there are a variety of methods, some quite nuanced, for utilities to use to meet the REPS, the two overarching methods are load management and renewable energy generation.  For the purposes of this discussion, the term load management will refer to both supply-side management and demand-side management, and energy efficiency.  While non-utility entities can pursue their own demand-side management and energy efficiency measures, the energy savings derived from those measures are excluded as an eligible resource for meeting the REPS (see discussion on How North Carolina’s REPS Differs from Other States: No Private “White Tag” Market).  At this point in time, meeting the REPS through load management is the exclusive domain of the electric service providers.

Load management - An overview of supply-side management, demand-side management and energy efficiency techniques used by the utilties to meet REPS requirements.

Distributed generation - Utilities can use private renewable energy projects to help meet REPS.

Getting to the Grid

For renewable energy developers, getting a renewable energy project of any size onto the electricity grid can be a daunting process. This section summarizes the utility interconnection and Commission regulatory process and is a starting point for anyone wanting to install a renewable energy generation facility.

Interconnection - A discussion of how a renewable energy facility can get connected to the electricity grid.

The Commission Regulatory Process - Outlines the process for getting a renewable energy facility on-line and selling RECs to an electric service provider.

Financing Renewable Energy Generation Projects

As non-utility renewable energy generation projects become more prevalent, project financing options increase.  This section provides an overview of some of the more common financing options available with a focus on the North Carolina market.  Because the payback period is a primary indicator of a project’s financial viability, this section is organized around the two basic factors impacting payback period – the project’s cost and return.

Offsetting or Lowering Project Costs - An overview of available tax credits, loans, grants and rebates.

Generating a Project Revenue Stream - A guide to understanding Renewable Energy Certificates ("RECs") and Net Metering.

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