Businesses Commend Gov. Cooper’s Plan to Bolster North Carolina’s Clean Energy Economy and Reduce Emissions

New executive order sets the stage for North Carolina’s clean energy future
Oct 30, 2018 3:00 PM ET
Campaign: State Policy

BOSTON, October 30, 2018 /3BL Media/ - Businesses lauded Gov. Roy Cooper for taking action to rapidly transition North Carolina to a clean energy future in a move that will benefit all North Carolina residents by strengthening the state economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Yesterday, Gov. Cooper issued an executive order instituting three statewide targets for clean energy and clean transportation to help reduce emissions in North Carolina:

  • Reduce statewide greenhouse emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
  • Increase the number of registered zero-emission vehicles to at least 80,000 by 2025.
  • Reduce energy consumption in state-owned buildings by 40 percent by 2025. 

With Executive Order 80, Gov. Cooper is heeding the call of major investors and companies that recognize the importance of accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and have been engaged in clean energy policy for many years.

“We applaud Gov. Cooper for his leadership and commitment to tackling climate change and investing in a clean energy future,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager, state policy at Ceres, a group organizing business voices in North Carolina. “Gov. Cooper’s new executive order acknowledges the importance of making North Carolina a bright spot for corporate renewable energy investments. We look forward to seeing the state work with the business community to implement the executive order.”

For the past few years, businesses throughout North Carolina including Arjuna Capital, Ingersoll Rand, Mars, Inc., Novozymes, Unilever, United Technologies, VF Corporation, and others have supported smart clean energy policies that provide increased predictability, market certainty, and incentives for clean energy investment. Businesses have also supported North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law.  

“Mars, Incorporated is committed to delivering on our ambitious, science-based clean energy and emissions reductions goals. We source enough wind power to cover 100 percent of the electricity needs at all our U.S. operations, including our pet food facility in Henderson,” said Brad Figel, VP of Government Affairs at Mars, Inc. “Governor Cooper’s leadership will help North Carolina and the business community more easily achieve our own clean energy goals while saving money that can be reinvested in the local community."

The executive order also underscores the importance of supporting companies with ambitious commitments to invest in clean energy and reduce their carbon footprint. Dozens of North Carolina businesses including Apple, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart have committed to powering  their operations with 100 percent renewable energy as a way to save money and protect against the volatility of fuel prices. However, current policy barriers make it difficult for companies to invest in renewable energy locally. In recent legislative sessions, business leaders have encouraged state lawmakers to support policies that would make it easier for companies to procure in-state renewable energy and foster competition in the energy marketplace.

“We look forward to working with Gov. Cooper to make this vision a reality. At our brewery and tasting room in Asheville, we have invested in clean energy solutions because it makes business sense,” said Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing. “Strong policies and programs like the ones laid out in this executive order will spur new investments in clean energy and clean vehicle technologies.”

In addition to setting ambitious state targets, the executive order includes the initiation of a process to develop a North Carolina Clean Energy Plan, which will provide recommendations for how the state can swiftly transition to clean energy and grow its economy. The executive order also includes several “lead-by-example” clean energy and clean transportation initiatives for the state government—which will save taxpayers money and demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of clean energy solutions. The 40 percent energy savings target for state buildings enumerated in the executive order follows a recommendation produced by the N.C. Energy Policy Council and has been vocally supported by the business community.

“VF Corporation has set a goal to power all owned and operated facilities worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025,” said Letitia Webster, Vice President, Global Corporate Sustainability, VF Corporation. “We applaud Gov. Cooper’s leadership to ensure North Carolina stays at the forefront of the transition to a clean energy economy.”

Today’s move is particularly salient in the wake of the two 500-year floods that hit North Carolina within the past two years. More intense storms and flooding are expected to increase both in frequency and severity.  It also comes on the heels of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that calls for more urgent action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The executive order includes recommendations to help improve North Carolina’s resiliency and ability to withstand natural disasters.