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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Environment N.C. report to slam Duke Energy on solar power

Posted by on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

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To quote the Friends theme, Duke Energy, "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year." Sorry, the entire show's on Netflix these days.

Environment N.C., an environmental advocacy nonprofit, says it will release a report Thursday detailing the national "network of billionaires, utilities and fossil fuel front groups" fighting solar energy growth in North Carolina. 

"It's important for the public to understand the aggressiveness with which they are lobbying all across the country, not just in North Carolina," Environment N.C.'s Rachel Morales, clean energy organizer for the group, told the Indy Tuesday.

Duke Energy—which is constantly responding to criticism of its environmental stewardship in North Carolina, particularly since last year's 39,000-ton coal ash spill in Eden's Dan River—will be featured.

Of course, while Duke Energy has touted itself as an advocate for renewable energy in North Carolina, pointing to more than $4 billion the company has invested in wind and solar facilities, the company has lobbied against allowing third-party residential solar sales in North Carolina, claiming it seeks to pursue a "comprehensive" approach to solar in the state.

It's a fairly simple explanation, solar supporters say. Duke loses business if North Carolina opens itself to sales from someone other than Duke Energy. 

Expect this to come up when Environment N.C. releases its report Thursday morning. Last month, the organization, along with some lawmakers, released a report that claimed North Carolina has vast potential for solar power generation, noting the state is ranked fourth nationally in total solar power capacity today, only behind California, Arizona and New Jersey. 

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