Clean energy is a topic that people in North Carolina from all walks of life are passionate about. From elected officials and business owners to farmers and students, the state is full of people who are passionate and dedicated to promoting clean energy for a better future.
As a national leader in clean energy, it should come as no surprise that the people of North Carolina are beginning to see clean energy as not only a resource, but as an integral part of their businesses as well.
Clean Energy Rural NC
It’s not just leaders in the energy industry who recognize the importance of clean energy practices. The Story of Clean Energy follows the story of Helen Livingston, a North Carolinian farmer whose rich heritage was preserved through a mutually beneficial lease with a solar provider.
“This farm has been in the family longer than we can trace back. We would never consider selling, so our solar lease is really good, and the land is really good. If anything or anybody else had come along, we would have said no. But we know the value of clean energy, and to promote it in this area meant a lot to us. I’ve always been proud to be a North Carolinian, even more so as they’ve moved forward with this understanding that we need REPS and we need to start changing how we provide energy.” – Helen Livingston
Clean Energy Neighborhoods & Universities
Individual North Carolinians have been instrumental in transforming the state’s energy usage with smart investments in solar energy. John Argentati, an engineer in Cary, designed his own solar panels and cut his electric bill from $200 to $18, and his actions haven’t gone unnoticed.
“One of our neighbors from down the street came over, saw our setup and the potential for solar, and ended up getting photovoltaic panels installed on his house, too.” – John Argentati
And as energy continues to rise to the top of current issues, the next generation of North Carolinians are taking notice as well.
“Moving to renewables and more sustainable practices has become more mainstream…” Josh Brooks, student at Appalachian State University.
Renewable energy initiatives are sweeping through North Carolina’s universities at a remarkable speed – the UNC system has reduced their total energy use per square foot by 20 percent in the past decade, and Appalachian State itself has the largest and most diverse portfolio of Renewable Energy Facilities in the state. Through neighborhood and university efforts, the North Carolina community is coming together towards the shared goal of encouraging and practicing sustainable energy.
The Corporate Benefits of Clean Energy
Businesses are joining the movement, too. 63% of NC business owners think America should focus on maximizing the value of the energy we use and invest in clean energy, and 61% of the state’s small business owners think that moving the country to clean energy is a smart way to restart the economy and help small businesses create jobs.
“Clean and renewable energy is not a political issue, it’s just smart business ” Candace Taylor Anderson, Belk representative. North Carolina’s renewable energy industry has the potential to create 15,000 new jobs by 2026, according Diane Cherry, strategic director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.
“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” – Kate Ringness, program manager for the American Jobs Project.
The utility-scale battery and biogas industries alone, Ringness noted, can employ an average of around 19,000 people annually over the next 15 years.
Not only does clean energy create jobs for North Carolinians, but it does so in a way that protects the long-term future of the state we call home. With the clear economic benefits, it’s no wonder why businesses across North Carolina are making the switch to renewable energy.
NC Clean Energy Policies in Action
NC representative David Lewis had this to say about the state’s energy policy:
“We must engage. All hands on deck…. Let’s learn, educate, and collaborate on energy issues.”
North Carolina has a lot to be proud of when it comes to energy. Through effective policies and an educated public, NC has been able to successfully grow on state and community levels, creating a promising future for our economy and citizens.