North Carolina has a regulated electricity market with monopoly utilities where investor-owned utilities (IOUs) make most* of the decisions about where our power comes from. As a result, we do not have a true free market where energy technologies, including renewables, can enter and compete on price and quality. Smart policies that create a window of opportunity for clean energy technologies to enter and compete in this regulated market are vital to continue moving North Carolina's energy economy forward.

NCSEA has been instrumental in the passage of clean energy policies in the past fifteen years. Senate Bill 3, passed in 2007, created the North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), and 2017's House Bill 589 ("Competitive Energy Solutions for NC") was the result of nearly one year of stakeholder negotiations. HB 589 expanded customer access to renewable energy through a solar leasing program, a new rooftop solar rebate program, a community solar program, and a Green Source Rider program for large energy consumers, as well as a study of energy storage. Most notably, HB 589 created a competitive procurement process for utility-scale solar that generates both clean energy and savings for ratepayers.

Both pieces of legislation encourage a healthy energy mix in North Carolina by allowing clean energy technologies to enter and compete in our monopoly electricity market. In return, these policies benefit not only clean energy businesses, but all North Carolina electricity consumers -- even those who do not use renewable energy or energy efficiency -- through lower overall energy bills, healthier communities, higher local tax bases, and jobs.

They also benefit energy providers, including utilities and municipalities. Clean energy is a fiscally prudent alternative to traditional, fuel-dependent resources, whose associated costs are unpredictable.

Policies are key to driving our energy economy forward. Our Policy Engagement provides insights into how.

*Approximately one-third of NC electricity customers are served by electric membership corporations (“co-ops”) and municipal and university-owned electric distribution systems (“munis”).
Read more here and here.

Policy Snapshot by the Numbers: 2020