Many cooperatives are working alongside their members to address growing interest in reducing carbon emissions while maintaining their commitment to reliability and affordability. Electric cooperatives in the Tar Heel State recently set ambitious targets—50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Nelle Hotchkiss, COO and senior vice president of Association Services for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives; Doug Johnson, CEO for Blue Ridge Energy; and Paul Spruill, CEO for Tideland Electric Membership Corporation, joined CFC moderators in a recent webinar to share how the state’s electric cooperatives and generation and transmission cooperative are planning to meet these objectives together.
Watch the Special Economic Update Webinar Replay
CFC members can watch a replay of the August 17 Extra Credit Education Series webinar, “North Carolina Co-ops’ Brighter Futures Initiative,” to get an overview of the Brighter Future Initiative, how North Carolina systems plan to pursue sustainability while maintaining reliability and affordability, and how cooperation among cooperatives can create value for members.
Building a Brighter Future
“This is more than a public relations campaign, this is a shared initiative with a vision across all 26 of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives,” Hotchkiss shared. “It’s meant to guide our actions and put us in a favorable position with key audiences—member-consumers, business leaders and policymakers.”
The initiative focuses on three key areas:
- Reliable electricity delivered across innovative, cooperative-operated electric grids at the lowest possible cost.
- Use of existing and new resources and technologies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Support for community through economic development and enrichment activities.
To gain insights about members’ attitudes and opinions related to the Brighter Future Initiative, as well as test language, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ surveyed a subset of cooperative members through its market research division, TSE Services. According to Hotchkiss, the vast majority of participants approved of the cooperatives’ net-zero carbon emissions goal but lacked awareness about cooperative innovation. Noting that the cooperatives’ ability to achieve the goals set forth in the Brighter Future Initiative is contingent upon innovation and partnerships, Hotchkiss said messaging to match is a priority.
Context for initiative:
- The state’s population has increased by more than 15 percent since 2005, yet average per-person electricity use is down.
- Carbon emissions have decreased by more than 33 percent in the last 15 years and will continue to decrease.
- North Carolina is a national leader in solar power, ahead of 48 other states.
Learn How Tar Heel Co-ops Are Meeting Their Goals
Watch the replay
to learn more about how North Carolina cooperatives are working together to demonstrate how they are meeting their goals through micro grids, community and utility solar, battery storage, managed electric vehicle charging, and beneficial electrification for agricultural, commercial and industrial members.