RALEIGH – The North Carolina legislature recently passed a landmark climate and clean energy bill that “exemplifies the way that state policies can decarbonize the power sector by advancing critical carbon-free generation technologies and improving air quality for everyone in the state — all while also providing ratemaking tools to address energy cost inequities,” said Andrew Place, State Energy and Climate Policy Director at Clean Air Task Force.
Governor Roy Cooper is expected to sign the bill, HB 951, into law shortly, codifying the state’s climate goals and requiring the state’s electric utilities to achieve a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, with 2005 levels as the baseline, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The bill is inclusive of a wide range of carbon-free technologies, stating that the utilities must follow “least cost path[s]” to carbon-reductions, with a focus on “adequacy” and “reliability” while also providing oversite discretion to the Utilities Commision to modify the authorized carbon reduction goals by the dates specified.
The bill’s performance-based regulation authorizations also provide the tools to the state’s utilities to mitigate disequities that otherwise might arise through the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Place continued: “It’s encouraging to see North Carolina take this crucial step toward decarbonizing its power sector, bringing the state to the forefront of efforts to forestall the most costly impacts of climate change while ensuring immediate public health benefits to its communities in the form of near-term pollution reductions. This statute does this while acknowledging the need to address inequity and ensuring that all stakeholders have a voice in North Carolina’s long-term decarbonization goals. Like Illinois just two weeks ago, North Carolina is showing that states can be vital proving grounds for bipartisan, pragmatic climate policy, and can help spur action around the country and beyond.”
Governor Cooper’s signature will make North Carolina one of a dozen states that have binding net-zero and near net-zero power sector obligations. Illinois’ clean energy bill, signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, codified a goal to reduce carbon emissions from the Illinois power sector 45% by 2035, and 100% by 2045.
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Clean Air Task Force
Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions, CATF is an environmental advocacy group with the bold ideas needed today to solve the climate crisis. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad.