Decision-making will likely be the energy theme of 2020 for North and South Carolina. Certainly the stage has been set for it. Decisions can make progress happen. Final directions, new brooms that sweep clean. A sense that smart next steps can commence.

North Carolina drafted a Clean Energy Plan in 2019 with the help of several energy interests, both utilities that have years of training and experience, and others, too. Policymakers will decide how that gets rolled out. “The state’s clean energy plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electric power production to 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 and getting to carbon neutrality — removing as much carbon as is emitted — by 2050.”  (Source)

A big story in the Southeast is Santee Cooper and the way elected officials will decide its future, and as a result, the future of the utility customers’ wallets.

Two pipelines made headlines in 2019 and that will continue. “The state Department of Environmental Quality has approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s passage through central North Carolina over the howls of environmentalists, but the agency is raising strong objections to the proposed 74-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension that would run from Rockingham County to Graham.” (Source)

About coal ash. EPA website.

Coal and coal ash will continue as a headline. As 2019 wrapped up some projects in the two states to clean up ash were done. One news report said, “With the completion of this project, the Wateree River, Eastover, and the Congaree National Park are safer than they have been in years,’’ Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Frank Holleman said in a news release. “At Wateree, Dominion Energy and its predecessor, SCE&G, have set a standard for other utilities to follow.” (Source)

Integration of energy resources will be a theme that gains traction. Electric vehicles, energy storage and residential control will continue to merge in the minds of energy savvy people.  “Companies aspiring to aggregate home batteries into grid assets closed deals this year that proved there’s at least some demand for the service.” (Source) Vehicles will eventually not just be stored at home, but serve home (and grid) energy needs.

All this leads to a conclusion we have noted before. Customers are gaining influence and that comes with a demand that customers must be participative and always studying the way they can use their energy. That is a decision that customers must make in 2020.