To North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives, sustainability means delivering increasingly clean electricity over a grid that is more efficient, resilient and capable of supporting new energy resources. Our Brighter Future vision has led us to develop strategies for sustainability and in four key areas:
- Increasing renewable energy generation
- Further reducing carbon emissions
- Coordinating innovative energy resources through advanced grid operations
- Improving energy efficiency across all sectors through beneficial electrification
These strategies support our goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Sustainable, Low-Cost Energy
Today, more than half of our power is generated by emissions-free nuclear. Our early investment in carbon-free energy grows today, and the co-ops have a goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2023, which – when combined with nuclear and hydro – will soon create a 65 percent carbon-free portfolio.
Cooperatives are also implementing renewables throughout our grids, including:
- Fourteen Solar + Storage sites are serving cooperative communities across central and eastern North Carolina. These generation facilities leverage the power of renewable solar energy combined with battery energy storage technology to offset the intermittent nature of the resource to best serve local co-op members.
- Eleven co-ops have installed 19 community solar farms offering members a low-cost, low-risk way to benefit from solar technology. North Carolina co-ops were the first utilities in the state to implement a community solar program in 2014.
Innovative Energy Resources
Delivering increasingly sustainable electricity requires creating a more dynamic, flexible and efficient electric grid. Electric cooperatives are proactively implementing and coordinating new energy resources to support sustainability and provide enhanced value and service to consumer-members.
Building on their existing infrastructure and technological capabilities, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are:
- Deploying in-home demand reduction devices, such as internet-connected thermostats and controllable water heaters that allow cooperatives to partner with members to better manage energy use during peak times. This reduces wholesale power costs, and those savings directly benefit co-op members.
- Developing microgrids that provide grid support and added resiliency through coordination of local energy resources and devices. Five microgrids are operational now and new microgrids are being developed.
- Implementing battery storage technologies to improve reliability and support the grid as intermittent generation sources, like solar, increase.
- Serving as a distribution operator (DO) by coordinating distributed energy resources throughout cooperative grids to optimize reliability.
New electric technologies for commercial, agricultural and industrial businesses are emerging rapidly, providing unmatched process efficiency solutions. Using electricity instead of fossil fuels – beneficial electrification – can yield benefits that include cost savings, higher productivity and reduced emissions.
As technology advances, electric cooperatives are identifying new ways to electrify agricultural and commercial processes and make them cleaner, smarter and cheaper. Some examples include:
- Electric Irrigation
- Electric Equipment
- Indoor Agriculture
Learn more about beneficial electrification and solutions for agricultural, commercial and industrial co-op members looking to save money, improve efficiency and achieve sustainability goals.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have a longstanding commitment to providing energy efficiency programs, tips and tools to help members manage their energy use.
Check out our energy tips where you can find guides to:
- Reduce Heating Costs
- Save on Water Heating
- Cool off on Cooling Costs
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
We also work with electric cooperatives to meet Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) regulatory and compliance milestones. We are currently looking for North Carolina based swine and poultry waste renewable energy certificates (RECs). To discuss the sale of RECs from your renewable energy facility, please contact us at REPS@ncemcs.com. For owners of smaller facilities, those generally under two megawatts, please see our registration guide for more information on registering your facility.
As community organizations, co-ops are committed to improving quality of life beyond environmental benefits and are strengthening communities through economic development, support of youth and education through scholarships, grants and other programs, and delivering empowering energy solutions that benefit members.