North Carolina governor signs milestone energy bill

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday signed a major energy bill that aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030.

House Bill 951, Energy Solutions for North Carolina, authorizes the North Carolina Utilities Commission to take all reasonable steps to achieve a 70 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from electric public utilities by 2030. The commission is required to develop a plan by December 31, 2022 for the utilities to achieve the reduction goals.

The commission is also authorized to proceed in rulemaking on securitization of costs, and to allow potential modification of certain existing power purchase agreements. Within 180 days of the effective date of the act, they are required to establish rules for securitization of costs for early retirement of subcritical coal-fired electric generating facilities. Within 120 days, the commission is required to initiate a docket to establish rates to be paid by the electric public utilities for a one-time option to modify existing power purchase agreements.

On the bill, Governor Cooper stated:

Today, North Carolina moves strongly into a reliable and affordable clean energy future. This new bipartisan law requires the North Carolina Utilities Commission to take steps needed to get North Carolina a 70% reduction in carbon emission by the year 2030 and to carbon neutrality by 2050. Making transformative change is often controversial and never easy, especially when there are different points of view on big, complex issues. But coming to the table to find common ground is how government should work.

Governor Cooper has recently been more focused on generally reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In June, he issued an executive order highlighting the state’s “commitment to creating clean energy jobs increasing economic opportunities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the expansion of offshore wind power.”