2016 was a significant year of transition for both the NC Sustainable Energy Association and our state’s clean energy economy. NCSEA starts our 39th year stronger, more capable, and better positioned to advance clean energy on all fronts than at any time in NCSEA’s modern history. NCSEA stands ready to deliver on our commitment to make clean energy work for all North Carolina – consumers, industry, utilities and our government statewide.
Inside NCSEA, our team and Board transitioned to an entrepreneurial business model, focusing on our highest and best contributions, creating value daily with and for each of you as our ‘customers.’ We added a collective 52 years of relevant career experience to our accomplished staff team. Thanks to many of our members and supporters, NCSEA’s funding support is diversifying and growing around our new and existing programs. We have formalized and scaled up the way we communicate with you, now reaching 1.6 million North Carolinians through our new Communications Hub, and telling your stories with our nationally recognized Story of Clean Energy campaign.
Across our great state, clean energy has become a beneficial and critical part of our landscape, our culture, and our economic opportunity. In nearly every county clean energy now puts food on the table for North Carolina families and businesses, driving billions in new private investments while contributing more in local tax revenues that pay for schools and the services we all depend on each day. All electricity customers are benefiting as clean energy development continues to slow the rise in our electricity rates. The first wind farm in the southeast will soon be online, and utilities have fully complied with the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Portfolio Standard five years ahead of schedule at half the cost. NC is now #2 in installed solar capacity and energy efficiency remains dominant.
NCSEA seized every opportunity to learn, lead and succeed together, because we know as well as most that underneath our shared accomplishments much work remains to be done. In each of the past twelve months, our team invested heavily in spending time with you – convening members and stakeholders to identify challenges and immediate steps forward for both emerging and established clean energy solutions. We learned where challenges remain for customer owned solar, geothermal, bioenergy and utility scale solar, and we laid the groundwork for significant policy and market improvements in 2017.
A key part of leadership is building trust and dialogue. NCSEA launched new programs in energy storage, customer-owned solar, biogas, energy efficiency, solar and agriculture, and wind power, involving utilities, industry, consumer advocates and decision-makers. Our Utility Solutions Program is growing rapidly with generous support from our largest funders and a grant from the US Department of Energy. NCSEA now also works outside of public policy with our utilities, proving out leading edge data driven solutions that can enable utilities to solve their business model challenges around clean energy through delivery of customer savings and service.
On behalf of NCSEA, thank you for the role you play in our affordable, resilient and increasingly clean energy economy. The best is yet to come!