Key Legislation and Regulation Driving Clean Energy in North Carolina 

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North Carolina has been a national leader with continued room for growth in the clean energy transition as #4 in installed solar capacity and #2 in offshore wind net technical energy potential in the United States. Some policies have been key to the state’s progress in taking advantage of clean energy resources and the economic benefits they yield.    

NCSEA has created a narrative summary of the policies that have been critical to this growth in a new publication, which can be viewed here. Below is a short summary of some of the policies outlined in our most recent publication. 

  1. First, as part of the federal National Energy Act, Congress passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) in 1978. By requiring electric utilities to purchase renewable energy, PURPA increased demand for and drove down costs of renewable energy. 
  2. In 1990, the state adopted the five-year Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), which was very important to the development of utility-scale solar.  
  3. Next, the Clean Smokestacks Act (2002) required coal-fired power plants to lower their emissions of nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide. This policy has been successful thus far, reducing nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by over 80% from 2002 to 2021.  
  4. With the passage of Senate Bill 3 in 2007, NC became the first state in the southeast to adopt a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). It established minimum renewable energy generation requirements for investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and municipal electric suppliers. 
  5. In 2017, House Bill 589: Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina created a competitive procurement process for utility-scale solar with three tranches, totaling more than 1,000 MW. 
  6. Most recently, House Bill 951: Energy Solutions for NC packed a lot of policy into a short piece of legislation. Passed in 2021, this bill established a goal of 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 for the electricity sector. 

Check out our most recent publication here to learn more about each of these policies impacting the transition to sustainable energy in NC.  

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