From Scott Carlberg

North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality has posted more documents for its draft Clean Energy Plan. The supporting documents explain various parts of the energy plan process and input. The round-up page is here.

The NC DEQ has a short fuse for the public to provide input. ECC notes the place for comments at the end of this blog.

These are the sections of the draft energy plan, with links:

  1. Energy Sector Profile & Landscape
  2. Energy Resources
  3. Electricity Rates & Energy Burden
  4. Stakeholder Engagement Process & Comments
  5. Energy & Emissions Modeling
  6. Jobs & Economic Outlook

The draft plan has a lot of material. Energy is a big topic Some of the areas we note in particular …

The supporting documentation notes, “Transportation is the largest consumer of energy in the State, representing 28% of all energy use in 2016. This is followed by residential energy use at 26%, commercial use at 23%, and finally industrial use at 22%.” (Page 12 of the Energy Sector Profile and Landscape section)

Important comment. It is about energy, not just electricity, and transportation uses a lot of energy. As states can make it easier to electrify transportation, such as more vehicle chargers and more electric vehicle sales, there is a potential to make progress on air quality because of less combustion engine emissions. Important in this concept is that the power generation sources charging vehicles also must be low or no carbon sources, like nuclear, solar or wind.

Another facet to an expansive concept of clean energy is energy efficiency. The idea of energy burden is noted in Part Three of the plan. “Low-income residents often live in older, less efficient housing, which requires more energy for heating and cooling than newer homes.”

Efficiency crosses income levels, however. Improvements in efficiency are applicable to any residence or business that needs an upgrade. All efficiency improvement possibilities should be addressed. A watt saved is a watt saved no matter who saves it.

Efficiency could be a low-hanging fruit in energy improvement. Many small changes can create huge results. For instance, the rapid shift from incandescent to LED (light emitting diode) bulbs actually helped reduce power demand.

The bottom line on efficiency: Reduce the need to make more power, not just how more power is produced.

The Energy Resources portion of the plan mentions hydrogen, geothermal and fuel cells, which are still emerging technologies. Given North Carolina’s geography there could be more discussion of wave energy, especially since there is an institute in the state to research that kind of power. Wave energy has a short mention in the hydropower section of the draft.

Look for this on the NCDEQ site to comment.

The state provides a short fuse to comment on the draft plan. Supporting documents were posted after the overall draft plan. According to the NC DEQ website: “Comments will be accepted through Monday, September 9, 2019. … DEQ will consider the comments in preparing the final version of the Clean Energy Plan. As specified in Executive Order 80, the Clean Energy Plan will be submitted to the Governor by October 1, 2019.”

The NC DEQ asks people to use an online form to provide comments – here.

ECC has noted in previous columns: A good energy plan has many people providing input, not just those with a particular angle on energy. This needs to be a plan for all citizens. Speak up.