New Clean Energy Plan Offers Cornerstones

Guest Blog | June 11, 2008 | Press Releases

Asheville, N.C. (June 11, 2008) – The first comprehensive blueprint for designing North Carolina’s energy future was released today by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. The report, Cornerstones: Building a Secure Foundation for North Carolina’s Energy Future, outlines how North Carolina can develop our clean energy future with 60% less global warming pollution.

“Global and national action is essential, but if North Carolina wishes to seize the economic growth opportunities, our leaders must unlock that future,” stated Stephen A. Smith, executive director. “Building a clean energy future requires state leadership in four key areas.”

The four key action areas, or “Cornerstones,” described in the report are energy efficiency, clean energy, pollution capture and long-range planning. If North Carolina uses today’s technology to build a clean energy future with these tools, the state’s global warming pollution can be reduced by 60% by 2030.

“Energy efficiency has the greatest potential to reduce our global warming pollution,” stated Smith. “Cutting energy use, recycling wasted energy and increasing fuel economy accounts for over half the pollution reductions we identified. These technologies are available today and are cost-effective.”

Cornerstones lays out a blueprint for a future built on clean energy using a growing amount of low-pollution generation and capturing pollution from the rest. Utilities have often described these strategies as too costly. John D. Wilson, research director, responds, “Our plan dispels these myths. Using independent resources, cost and technology assessments, we show that North Carolina can build an affordable clean energy future.”

Our future also depends on visionary planning for our communities. State and local governments can prepare for our future with long-range planning that makes residents’ lives safer, healthier and abundant with new employment opportunities. While federal policies are vital, state and local governments will be hands-on managers of many of these solutions.

Each year, North Carolina’s pollution results in an estimated $15 billion in global damages. Smith responds, “These damages won’t leave North Carolina untouched – sea level rise will almost certainly reach two feet during our children’s lifetime, and perhaps during ours. Today’s decisions will determine the pace and severity of global warming damage.”

Scientists tell us that the next forty years are critical – global warming will lead to dangerous impacts if pollution is not cut by 80% by 2050. Global warming pollution is already causing problems with 1° of global warming, and immediate action is necessary to remain below what may be a “tipping point” of 3.6° of global warming.

“We are bringing well understood solutions to North Carolina’s leaders. Yet in spite of good intentions, NC’s recent permitting of the Cliffside power plant is one of many mistakes,” said Ulla-Britt Reeves, regional program director. “Cliffside’s design will make it nearly impossible to capture even a portion of the global warming pollution from its smokestacks over the next forty years.”

North Carolina has a responsibility to listen to the warnings and advice of the scientific community. With careful attention to the best science, Cornerstones offers the North Carolina’s leaders a blueprint for a better future. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization thatpromotes responsible energy choices that create global warmingsolutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughoutthe Southeast.