State environmental officials have released the draft of a proposed North Carolina Clean Energy Plan, a requirement of Governor Roy Cooper's executive order on climate change last year.
The plan released Friday calls for new policies and incentives to increase the use of renewable energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing electric plants by 60 to 70 percent from 2005 levels. It also sets a goal to "work toward" zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also seeks to keep costs down and ensure low-income residents have equal access to new power technologies.
“The Clean Energy Plan is a shared vision for the energy future we need in North Carolina. It includes consensus policy recommendations on the key changes necessary to combat climate change, create economic growth and modernize our power grid,” N.C. environmental secretary Michael Regan said in a statement Friday.
Cooper's Executive Order 80 called for efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. While President Trump has halted U.S. participation, more than two dozen governors and leaders of U.S. territories - including Cooper - have pledged to uphold the agreement's goals.
Public comments on the plan are due Sept. 9, by email or on the Department of Environmental Quality website.
Gudrun Thompson, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, welcomed the plan. “Moving the state away from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources is integral to lowering carbon pollution and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change," he said in a press release. "Now is the time for bold action to address ongoing climate change, which affects all North Carolinians but disproportionately harms the most vulnerable."
Read the draft Clean Energy Plan at https://deq.nc.gov/cleanenergyplan.
Public comments may be filed at https://deq.nc.gov/cleanenergyplancomment