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Group Shines Spotlight on Duke Energy's Solar Plans

November 20, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. - Duke Energy has a plan for renewable energy in North Carolina.

As the only energy provider for North Carolina, the utility filed its plan with the North Carolina Utilities Commission late last week. The company says its program - called "Green Source Rider" - will give large-scale energy consumers the option of incorporating renewable energy into their power plans. However, it doesn't necessarily have to be "homegrown" renewable energy produced in the state, said Jim Warren, executive director of the energy watchdog group NC Warn.

"Those facilities would be able to pretend they're green," he said, "while they're actually pretending that solar or wind power that's produced in Texas or Wyoming or some other western state - that that's somehow powering their facility in North Carolina."

A spokesperson for Duke Energy acknowledged that large-scale customers will have the option to choose where their renewable energy comes from as part of the company's program, and that it's part of an overall effort to increase the use of alternative energy sources.

Warren said he wants Duke to put a renewable energy plan into action that would decrease the state's reliance on coal-fired power plants and also offer options to residential customers to choose renewable energy.

"We want to see genuine solar power and offshore wind especially," he said, "and energy-saving programs, and help 'decarbonize' this state."

Duke Energy has had three rate increases in the past four years for North Carolina customers, with much of that money requested to pay for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

Duke Energy's renewable-energy plan is online at duke-energy.com.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC