MOREHEAD CITY — A North Carolina-based nonprofit has released a study showing the state is among the top ten in renewable energy development.
Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center released a report Nov. 9 analyzing the last 10 years of renewable energy development in all 50 states.
ENC held an online press conference via Zoom Tuesday announcing its release. Speakers during the conference were ENC advocate Krista Early, N.C. Public Interest Research Group Director Katie Craig, N.C. Interfaith Power and Light Director Susannah Tuttle and state Sen. Natalie Murdock, D-Durham.
Ms. Early said according to the ENC study, as of Tuesday North Carolina is the 10th state in the nation for renewable energy development. Additionally, it has increased its solar power infrastructure by 210% since 2010.
“That’s placed us third in the nation” for solar power production, she said.
Ms. Early went on to note at the existing rate of renewable energy development in the U.S., the nation’s energy needs could be met by renewable energy sources, such as solar power and wind energy, by 2035.
Renewable energy sources have been explored in Carteret County and other areas of eastern North Carolina, particularly wind energy. Opinions expressed at public meetings in the county in recent years have been divided.
“As a North Carolina native, I can say switching to renewables is important to protecting the special places we love,” Ms. Craig said. “We can’t continue to bear the health (risks) and consumer costs of fossil fuels.”
Ms. Tuttle said she was excited to see the release of the ENC report. She said NCIPL, a N.C. Council of Churches program dedicated to promoting solutions to mitigate climate change, is thankful to “see the data supporting what we know to be a moral imperative.”
“Increasingly, people of faith are seeing the responsibility to be good stewards,” she said.
Sen. Murdock said to continue improving renewable energy resources in North Carolina and elsewhere, government leadership will be an important part of the solution. This not only includes federal support, but also state and local governments, as well.
“The technology is there, the research is there,” Sen. Murdock said. “We just need the political leadership to achieve these goals.”
She went on to say renewable energy development can also contribute to national security, and reducing a reliance on fossil fuels will also reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.
Ms. Tuttle said the pursuit of more renewable energy is about “finding common ground in what we love.”
“If we can connect communities in a global way, we can achieve the future we want,” she said. “We have to do our fair share.”
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.