Clean Energy FAQs
From renewables to energy efficiency, clean energy offers a variety of employment opportunities for our state. North Carolina is home to more than 34,000 full-time equivalent clean energy jobs. What’s more, those who might struggle to find temporary work in rural areas now have more access to good paying jobs, such as those in solar farm construction.
Clean energy can only stand to benefit and enhance your community. Beyond the economic impacts – local jobs and revenues – these projects instill a sense of independence and fortitude against an uncertain future that would otherwise be solely powered by aging, increasingly expensive traditional power plants. It doesn’t get more secure than a homegrown energy supply.
Just the opposite, actually. In communities across North Carolina, clean energy projects like solar are increasing property value – benefiting land-owners, and, as a result, expanding the local tax base. For example, many farmers with solar installed on their land now have a sense of economic security because of the steady stream of income they receive from solar lease payments.
Good news – many farmers and land-owners are able to keep their properties farmable, even when there is clean energy like solar installed on it. By leasing a portion of land for solar, landowners gain a steady stream of income, and as a result, are able to keep the land in its original form during hard economic times. For example, Sun Raised Farms showcases agriculture and solar working harmoniously together. This collection of farmers raises sheep to maintain the grounds of solar farms. A win-win!
There are actually several reasons why we should continue to invest in solar! Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress have already identified their future generating capacity needs within the next fifteen years. Filling future generational capacity with clean energy offers a low-cost option that can be especially beneficial to low-income counties, as nearly 75% of clean energy investment in North Carolina since 2007 has occurred in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. Additionally, those worried that solar is hurting the reliability of the electrical system and hitting its peak at some substations shouldn’t be! Reliability and grid concerns can be solved through investments in smart grid infrastructure and energy storage, while simultaneously enabling expanded clean energy generation in North Carolina.
Clean energy policies, like the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), make up less than $1 on most customers’ average $100+ monthly bill. Even including this line item charge, North Carolina customers saved approximately $8 on their 2014 electric bills. And these charges are also keeping our future bills down: a 2015 report estimates $651 million will be saved by 2029, thanks to clean energy’s presence in our energy mix.
North Carolina still operates under a monopoly energy market. The introduction of clean energy into our limited market has been vital in keeping our rates lower than they would be with only traditional energy sources powering our homes and businesses. Continuing to nurture our growing clean energy economy is crucial for our effort to keep rates down in the long-term.
Actually, renewable sources are now approaching cost parity with natural gas. The price of solar generation is now cheaper. And these prices are projected to continue falling. This is just one reason why homeowners, businesses, and utilities across the country are getting on board with renewables – and quickly. Add in the fact that fuel prices, unlike solar and wind, can fluctuate in price at a moment’s notice, clean energy is a no-brainer.
Good news. Your neighbor is actually making a positive investment on your behalf – one that will lessen your electric bill burden today and in the future. The more neighbors you notice adopting clean energy, the fewer power plants utilities have to build, maintain, and recover costs from you to pay for. Thank your neighbor today!
Clean energy investments are actually a hedge against variable fuel costs – which could rise again at a moment’s notice. Because clean energy sources like solar and energy efficiency technologies don’t rely on fuel, there is much more price certainty. Bonus: unlike traditional, fossil-fuel powered sources, the price of renewables continues to decrease – even as the technology improves.
This number comes from a study done by the CIVITAS Institute and contains several flaws. The report fails to take cost caps into consideration, overestimates levelized costs of energy for solar and wind, and exaggerates the amount of new generation needed to satisfy future REPS requirements. A more detailed account can be found here. Additionally, an analysis by RTI International and ScottMadden found concluded that REPS will save ratepayers $651 million by 2029.
Not at all. Existing state law in N.C. and federal law requires the Base Commander at major military installations to be consulted on all wind energy projects. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense has a very strict permitting process for any wind project that must be followed.
On-base clean energy can only help, not hurt, military operations. Because power delivered by the utilities is offsite, military bases are vulnerable to the same outages as other customers. The presence of clean energy resources – whether it be generating power onsite or storing it for backup in the event of an outage – can keep military operations running smoothly.
This is a common misconception. Although North Carolina is second in the nation for installed solar capacity, solar farms here occupy just 0.2% of total North Carolina cropland. And the Amazon East Wind Farm’s 104 turbines will occupy less than 208 acres.
Clean energy policies like the now-expired NC Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), and federal Investment Tax Credit, have benefited all electric ratepayers in North Carolina – not just those who’ve taken advantage of credits to finance their projects. In fact, as of 2016 these investments across many rural and underserved communities statewide returned $1.64 for every $1 of REITC incentive to the local economy.
Solar panel materials are enclosed and don’t mix with water or vaporize into the air – meaning there is no threat of chemicals releasing into the environment during normal use. In addition, the panels are manufactured to endure all weather conditions and are sealed shut to further ensure public safety. Almost all solar PV panels are made of tempered glass, pass rigorous hail tests, and are regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions.