Trade Association: NC Energy Companies Unlikely To Stop Investing In Renewables

Jun 2, 2017

A trade association representing energy organizations in the Carolinas say President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Accord will have little immediate effect on local energy companies.

Duke Energy, in particular, is forging ahead with ambitious goals like halting the construction of any new coal plants, and reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030.

David Doctor
Credit Nick de la Canal

Thursday's decision by the White House isn't likely to stop the utility from pursuing those goals, says David Doctor, president and CEO of E4 Carolinas.

"The energy companies here, and the consumers in particular, have concluded that clean energy is the direction they want to take," Doctor said, "And that's the direction that they're taking, irregardless of policy."

But would that mean the Paris Accord was unneeded, just another unnecessary government policy?

Doctor joined WFAE's Nick de la Canal to share his take.

Highlights

On President Trump's assertion that the Paris Accord was bad for business
"One of our organization's main objectives is to increase the value of our member companies, so we'd be concerned with any action that would detract from that. The president's withdrawal from the Paris Accord is not particularly concerning."

On the Paris Accord's significance to energy utilities
"There's a couple of levels to examine here. One is what's happening here, locally, in the Carolinas. And the assessment you're generally seeing is that the Carolinas actually were ahead of policy. The energy companies here, and the consumers in particular, have concluded that clean energy is the direction they want to take, and that's the direction that they're taking, irregardless of policy.

"Another level to examine is what's happening globally. The United States is recognized as a global leader in a lot of areas, and one is clean energy. If the United States withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord, it may send signals to other countries that aren't as advanced as the United States."

On the local impact of withdrawing from the agreement
"With regard to what's happening here locally, the course is already well set. When we take a look at a number of aspects of clean energy development, you'll see that the utilities almost uniformly, throughout the Carolinas, have adopted an approach where they're incorporating renewable energy -- primarily solar -- into their portfolios.

"Duke Energy has made a very strong statement with regard to its direction. It's not going to build new coal plants. And large energy consumers that look to locate in the state, or even to continue to reside in the state, are insisting that they be served from a clean energy portfolio."