Sierra Club releases new report: ‘A Pathway to a Cleaner Energy Future in North Carolina’

Analysis shows renewables can reliably meet state’s energy n

Melissa Williams,


RALEIGH, N.C.—North Carolina could retire every coal plant in the state, never build another gas plant, and still reliably meet people’s energy needs through clean, renewable sources, according an analysis commissioned by the Sierra Club.

The analysis is laid out in a report released today called, “A Pathway to a Cleaner Energy Future in North Carolina.” It was developed by the Greenlink Group, a policy technology firm that researches and analyzes topics including energy, economics, water and climate change.

As Duke Energy seeks rates increases on families and businesses to pay for its coal ash cleanup and to continue spending billions of customers’ money to keep building out a fracked gas infrastructure, Sierra Club’s Greenlink report finds there’s a better way forward for North Carolina.

The report’s analysis shows:

1. North Carolina could retire every coal plant, never build another new gas plant and still reliably meet communities’ energy needs through renewable resources, such as energy efficiency, wind and solar. 

2. Residential customers would save an average of $101/year on their electric bills if we went in this direction. Non-residential customers would save an average of $611/year.

3. The cleaner energy plan would reduce every major pollutant associated with electricity generation, including carbon, sulfur and nitrogen dioxides.

4. Shifting North Carolina’s energy plan in this direction would save 1,200 lives between now and 2028, and reduce missed work days because of illness by 93,262 days.

5. North Carolina would gain between 109,000 and 157,000 additional jobs compared to Duke Energy’s business-as-usual plan. In fact, jobs, incomes and state level GDP would all increase under this plan.

In response to today’s report release, Dave Rogers, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign representative in North Carolina, released the following statement:

“The results of this analysis are pretty clear: if Duke wants to best serve their North Carolina customers, they need to stop wasting customer’s money on the dirty energy sources of the past, and to start investing in the energy sources of today.  

“The promise of a cleaner energy future that sustains our communities and our environment, from the mountains to the coast, is within our grasp today—and we call on Duke Energy to move away from outdated resource plans that rely on dirty, expensive, climate-disrupting fossil fuels and toward a system based on robust energy efficiency programs and clean, abundant solar and wind.

Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, (D-Northhampton), added that clean energy is the best optionfor her constituents and for the state of North Carolina.

“We have to look at decarbonizing our industries and making sure we’re empowering communities, providing economic opportunities for our communities and protecting their health.

“Solar and wind energy give our neck of the woods an economic bright spot. We know that a clean energy mix is the right energy mix for North Carolina, so I’m very excited about this report. It’s better for our future, better for our economy and it’s great news for eastern North Carolina.”



About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit