Keeping NC Open for Business: NCSEA, Fortune-500 Companies, Military & Universities Team Up to Improve Access to Renewable Energy

It’s well-known that countless influential business, healthcare, and education leaders have made a commitment to power their facilities with clean energy – many of them working toward a goal of 100% renewable energy usage in the near future. This movement has especially taken shape in the last several years, most notably as Fortune 100 and 500 companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Walmart have aggressively pursued their goals by doing business in states with strong clean energy policies.

And now, we’re seeing a similar broad coalition of clean energy organizations, businesses, the military, and universities joining forces in North Carolina to call for improved access to renewable energy for large energy customers via Duke Energy’s recently-proposed Green Source Advantage program.

NCSEA has worked diligently over the last decade to ensure that North Carolina – a national leader in installed solar energy – is also a top business destination for such companies. To that end, in 2014 NCSEA advocated for a strong initial ‘Green Source Rider’ pilot program for commercial and industrial consumers who wanted to increase their use or procurement of renewable energy. While Duke Energy’s pilot program, which ended in 2016, only attracted three commercial participants despite tremendous interest, it provided important lessons on how the utility could design a second iteration of the program with greater participation by large energy customers.

Last year’s House Bill 589, North Carolina’s first comprehensive energy legislation in a decade, provided a new opportunity to improve upon Duke Energy’s pilot program and meet the growing demands of large energy customers.

Alongside our members and partners who served as stakeholders in HB589’s development and passage, NCSEA worked over the course of the legislation’s nearly one-year negotiations to guarantee the legislation supported new corporate and industrial clean energy procurement. It worked: The law, signed by Governor Cooper in late July, guarantees 600 MW of renewable energy can be procured by large businesses, universities, and the military. But this procurement will only occur if Duke Energy’s program works for its customers.

As HB589 is being implemented by the NC Utilities Commission, NCSEA continues to push for a new and truly improved green tariff. Unfortunately, a review of Duke Energy’s proposed Green Source Advantage (GSA) program makes clear that there’s much work still needs to be done before the green tariff will attract and serve business, university, and military customers. See NCSEA’s initial comments on Duke Energy’s proposed GSA program, which were submitted to the NC Utilities Commission here.

In addition to NCSEA, numerous business, military, and education leaders – including Walmart, Apple, Google, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill – shared their concerns about Duke Energy’s proposed GSA program with the NC Utilities Commission. Click the links below to learn more:

In addition to these comments, joint letters from several North Carolina companies including SAS, New Belgium Brewing, Sierra Nevada, VF Corporation and Unilever, as well as from several North Carolina academic institutions, including Davidson College, Duke University & Wake Forest University, were filed urging Duke Energy and the NC Utilities Commission to consider specific improvements to the proposed GSA program. NCSEA applauds these groups for their commitment to not only using more renewable energy, but also engaging in these important policy and regulatory discussions to ensure the resulting program meets their needs.

Reply comments by intervenors in the Green Source Advantage docket are due March 16, and an order by the NC Utilities Commission will follow. NCSEA Business Members can stay tuned for updates in the meantime through our Clean Energy Insights newsletter and bi-weekly “Business Members Only” conference calls. Not yet an NCSEA Business Member? Join today to get timely updates on policy issues like this and more.

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