The North Carolina Utitilies Commission issued a Carbon Plan last week aimed at helping the state meet a recently adopter federal edict to achieve a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030 compared to those in 2005.
The Plan focuses on Duke Energy's electricity generating facilities. It
• directs Duke to conduct two competitive procurements between 2023-2024
targeting 2,350 MW of new solar generation to be placed into service by 2028
• authorizes Duke to procure 1,000 MW standalone battery storage and 600 MW of
battery storage paired with solar generation
• authorizes Duke to upgrade necessary transmission facilities to interconnect new
• requires Duke to optimally retire its remaining coal-fired generating units, more
than 9,000 MW, by 2035
• authorizes Duke to incur project development costs associated with additional
pumped storage hydro at the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station in Oconee County,
• directs Duke to study and consider the acquisition and development of wind lease
areas off the coast of North Carolina
• requires Duke to seek to extend the licenses for its existing nuclear fleet, and
authorizes Duke to incur project development costs associated with new nuclear
• directs Duke to engage with onshore wind stakeholders and economically model
utility-owned onshore wind in its next round of modeling
• authorizes Duke to plan for the addition of combustion turbine and combined cycle
natural gas-fired generating capacity, while requiring Duke to address concerns
about the availability of firm transmission capacity to North Carolina in future
• approves for planning Duke’s target of 1% load reduction through demand-side
management and energy efficiency measures, while setting a 1.5% target
• directs Duke to continue to develop targeted plans for engaging low-income,
minority, and rural communities
According to a Utilities Commmission news release, the emergency outage events in the recent cold spell particularly underscore the need for an orderly transition away from fossil fuels to low and zero carbon dioxide emitting generating resources while maintaining or improving the reliability of the electric grid.
The law requires the Commission to review and adjust the Carbon Plan every two years. Last week's order requires Duke to remodel resource additions to achieve the carbon dioxide emissions reduction mandates — including impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act, and other future legislative changes and changing conditions — and file a new proposal with the Commission by September 1, 2023.
In 2019, North Carolina ranked 38th among the states in the amount of CO2 produced per capita. The 2017 total emissions were estimated to be 115 million metric tons. Thanks to population and industrial growth, that figure increased to 122 million tons last year.
In a related story, the North Carolina Dept. of Environment Quality (NCDEQ) announced in early November that it will distribute more than $6.8 million to fund the installation or expansion of electric vehicle charging stations at 64 sites across the state. None of those is in Lincoln or Gaston counties, but one will be at Shelby in Cleveland County and one at Conover in Catawba County.
The state is joining the federal government in pushing electric vehicles (no pun intended). In North Carolina, the Clean Vehicle Credit provides a tax credit of up to $4,000 for the purchase of a pre-owned EV or FCEV; but eligible vehicles must be of a model year at least two years prior to the year of purchase and may not have a purchase price above $25,000. [If you've priced an electric vehicle, you know they're expensive.] There's also a federal tax credit of up to $7,500--but the restrictions on that plan make it almost certain than few buyers will qualify for the full amount.