The North Carolina power sector is poised for transition. Economics have driven big changes on the grid, making cleaner options for electricity generation cost competitive with traditional resources. North Carolina clean energy policies have further enabled the shift into renewable resources. Building on this momentum, Duke Energy Corporation and our state’s rural electric cooperatives have set ambitious climate goals, including “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.
Well-designed policies can accelerate pollution reduction, make change more affordable for state residents and business, and stimulate job growth. For this reason, the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan (CEP)—developed pursuant to Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 80— recommended the year-long study of carbon reduction policies for the power sector (Recommendation A1). The Duke University Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions (Duke Nicholas Institute) and the University of North Carolina’s Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics (UNC CE3) jointly conducted the study. This report reflects extensive modeling, policy and economic analysis, and stakeholder engagement. It does not make specific recommendations but evaluates different policies and offers options for decarbonizing the grid.
The CEP sets two emissions targets for the electricity used in North Carolina: a 70% reduction in 2005 CO2 emissions levels by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050. These targets include emissions from in-state electricity generation and electricity imports.