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North Carolina "Plugs In" to Clean Energy Economy

July 19, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina is plugging into the possibilities clean-energy technology has to offer. This week, Raleigh hosts "Plug-In 2011," an annual conference of clean-energy experts, focusing on transportation.

With tax-credit incentives for clean-energy companies to locate in the state and its own clean-energy standard, the Tar Heel State is ahead of much of the nation, according to environmental advocates. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a senior policy advisor for Pew Charitable Trusts, explains why other states should be following North Carolina's lead.

"The problem is, while you've done all of these great things in North Carolina, you can't guarantee a national market for the products that are built there by North Carolina citizens."

The Pew Clean Energy Program is a participant in the conference, Granholm says, with a goal of growing the clean-energy economy for national security, environmental and economic benefits. Mastering clean-energy technologies and creating national policies to support the industry will increase job growth and position the United States as a global leader, she says.

"Clean energy globally is the mother of all job-creation markets, the huge opportunity that's out there globally for the solution for becoming independent of fossil fuels. "

The playing field is open, she says, although several other countries already are taking steps toward a clean-energy economy.

"The question is, who is going to make the products that get the globe toward energy independence, or independence from foreign oil? And that's why the United States has got to get in the game."

Plug-In 2011 is closed to the public except for 5:30 to 10 p.m. today at the Raleigh Convention Center. Visitors can get a look at the newest electric cars as well as a showing of the film "Revenge of the Electric Car," as part of the $10 admission fee. It's the first time this annual conference on clean-energy technology has been held outside California.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC