Renewables in NC Vexed by Proposed Federal Policy

Guest Blog | January 15, 2013 | Press Releases

Asheville, N.C. (January 15, 2013) – The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy released a new white paper today evaluating the effects of proposed national “Clean Energy Standard” legislation. The white paper, which relies on government data from the Energy Information Administration, provides an in-depth analysis on how various energy mixes would impact the Carolinas and Virginia’s electricity supply in the future. Notable findings include:

  • As estimated by the Energy Information Administration, the Carolinas and Virginia are slated to receive approximately 47% of their electricity by coal-fired power plants by 2035.
  • Under a proposed Clean Energy Standard, the Carolinas and Virginia could receive as much as 73% of their electricity from nuclear reactors by 2035 or seven times more nuclear energy than all renewable energy combined.
  • Renewable energy resources, like wind, solar and biomass, could supply approximately 9% of the region’s electricity by 2035 under a proposed Clean Energy Standard.
  • Under a proposed Clean Energy Standard, electricity rates in the Carolinas and Virginia may increase between 18%-35% above a business-as-usual scenario.

A Clean Energy Standard has been suggested as a policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most CES proposals require or at least incentivize a certain percentage of “clean energy” generation by a certain date. Nuclear, natural gas, carbon capture and sequestration for coal plants as well as renewable energies (such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and biomass) may qualify as viable sources to fulfill a Clean Energy Standard. Once the qualifying resources are determined (e.g., nuclear, renewables, natural gas, etc.), a standard is set requiring a certain percentage of all electric generation be provided by those qualifying resources (e.g. 80% of U.S. electricity demand or generation is met by qualifying clean energy sources by 2050). Previously, both Republican and Democratic senators have proposed Clean Energy Standard legislation. President Barack Obama has supported a Clean Energy Standard concept in the 2011 and 2012 State of the Union (SOTU) addresses, and may do so again in this year’s SOTU or Inauguration address. SACE’s full white paper on proposed Clean Energy Standards is available for download here (PDF, 2MB). A single-page factsheet for the Carolinas and Virginia is available for download here (PDF). # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.