Zero-carbon is a goal for many utilities, companies, and government entities; produce no carbon emissions and have energy.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives recently pledged to get to zero-carbon. ECC is pointing out this effort because it illustrates an important tenet of the energy industry: There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to improving energy production and use.

The story, ‘Brighter Future’: N.C. Co-ops Pledge to Hit Zero-Net Carbon by 2050, is worth the read.

Some examples of the diverse approach the NC Coops are taking…

Power generation: The report proudly notes the role of nuclear energy, a zero-carbon source of a lot of electricity. The report also notes what is known in the industry as distributed generation, or smaller sources, like solar. A diverse approach.

Coordination: The report describes a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS). It is a centralized and interconnected energy platform, bundling (for lack of a better word) the small power resources.

New tools: Coops are also playing a role in broadband communications, which play an increasing role in smart homes and energy savings. That means that tools such as smart thermostats can be easier to use. (Image, left, is from the Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corp. website about thermostats)

Teamwork: Maybe it sounds like a cliché, but teamwork among energy organizations, governments and customers really makes a difference. Everyone moves forward when there is trust, good listening, technical creativity working as one.