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Coalition calls for Duke Energy’s monopoly control in North Carolina to end

Renewable energy generation continues to be a hot topic across the U.S., and the latest call for a state to transition to 100 percent use of renewables is coming from North Carolina, where a group of 15 organizations called The Energy Justice NC Coalition is seeking to end Duke Energy’s monopoly control and open the state to competition.

“Our communities are being harmed both by Duke Energy’s coal ash negligence and by repeated flooding from our changing climate,” said Bobby Jones of the Down East Coal Ash Coalition, in a news release. “Duke’s influence is a moral decay that erodes our democracy — and we’re calling for people across North Carolina to tell their public officials to stop taking Duke Energy’s toxic influence money.”

What is in part at issue is how Duke Energy appears to be lagging behind other power companies in terms of its solar deployment.

From PV Magazine’s William Driscoll:

North Carolina currently gets 5.4% of its electricity from solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. But [NC WARN executive director Jim] Warren said solar represents only 3% of generation in Duke territory, and that Duke’s latest integrated resource plan shows the utility will be at 8% total renewables in 2033. “Other utilities around the country are doing 20-30% renewables,” said Mr. Warren, “and projecting to go much higher still.”

In response, Duke Energy spokesperson Randy Wheeless noted that North Carolina’s solar capacity is second only to California’s. He cited a graph that the utility presented to shareholders last week, showing that the utility plans to reach 14% renewables, including hydropower, by 2030.

The coalition is also calling on elected and civic leaders to pledge to “stop taking Duke Energy’s influence money” and make appointments to the state’s utilities commission “who will prioritize the interests of North Carolinians over corporate monopolies.”

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