Report details clean energy solutions for NC

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Analysis was released this week, a report that details how North Carolina could meet climate change targets through clean energy sources.

“In North Carolina, fighting climate change and strengthening our economy goes hand in hand,” said Gov. Ray Cooper. “In the past year, we’ve celebrated some of the largest economic development announcements in state history from companies that focus on clean energy and share our environmental priorities. This analysis will help us achieve pollution reduction while highlighting new market opportunities to ensure North Carolina remains on the forefront of the clean energy transition.”

Looking as far ahead as 2050, the report highlights the need for “immediate, ambitious and sustained” action across every sector of the economy to achieve targets established in Executive Order No. 80 and Executive Order No. 246.

There are seven key recommendations:

  1. Accelerate a transition to ZEVs and electric heat pumps in buildings as electricity becomes the foremost fuel powering the economy.
  2. Rapidly decarbonize electricity generation by scaling up renewable electricity sources and battery storage as the emissions intensity of North Carolina’s electricity generation decreases by 93-100% by 2050 to achieve net-zero goals.
  3. Encourage high levels of energy efficiency, such as adoption of efficient appliances and vehicles, improvement of building shells, and reduction in vehicle miles traveled. Efficiency measures allow energy use per capita to decrease by approximately 45% by 2050 while meeting the same services.
  4. Support commercialization of decarbonized fuels, at a minimum, to green hydrogen for industry and large trucks and explore pilots for advanced biofuels using sustainable biomass feedstocks.
  5. Reduce non-energy GHG emissions from industry, agriculture, waste, and oil and gas systems as the non-energy sectors can achieve 12% reductions in 2050 compared to the Reference Scenario trajectory with existing policy and trends.
  6. Prioritize sustainable management of natural and working lands to enhance the critical role of carbon sequestration in helping achieve net-zero emissions. The potential of enhancing natural carbon sinks through land conservation, land management, and forest restoration, when combined with direct air capture of CO2 (DAC), can lead to an additional 10 million metric tons (MMT) of annual sequestration in 2050.
  7. Reduce fuel combustion while decarbonizing the economy to create co-benefits for air quality improvement, especially in disadvantaged communities.

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