On July 27, I had the privilege of testifying at the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) public hearing regarding the Duke Energy Carbon Plan. The Asheville hearing was one of six forums designated for public witness testimony on the proposed decarbonization plan.
In 2019, North Carolina joined 34 other states investing in solar, wind, and other renewable resources when it passed its Clean Energy Power Plan, and, in 2021, when it passed House Bill 951, which commits to a 70 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. When Duke Energy, a major corporation with outsized influence over the state’s decarbonization plan, submitted its proposal to meet those goals, it failed to account for affordability and equity.
The company and NCUC have also not meaningfully engaged with low-wealth ratepayers in the process. These public hearings are intended to promote community engagement; however, the extent to which they have been successful in reaching low-wealth ratepayers is a point of concern. The Asheville hearing was case in point.
Prior to the hearing, local organizers and climate advocates rallied outside the Buncombe County courthouse, imploring Duke Energy toward a cleaner carbon plan grounded in renewable energy. “Tell Duke Energy we …