NC Sustainable Energy Association’s (NCSEA) regulatory engagement is focused primarily on the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC), an agency of the State of North Carolina created by the General Assembly to regulate the rates and services of the largest electric utilities within the State.
NCSEA's regulatory engagement brings critical insight, knowledge, and perspective to proceedings of significant importance to clean energy policy. NCSEA's regulatory engagement encourages clean energy development by working for fair rules on issues such as implementing North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), interconnection and net-metering standards, energy pricing mechanisms, such as avoided cost rates, and energy efficiency programs.
Examples of NCSEA's Ongoing Regulatory Engagement
North Carolina's REPS
In 2007, North Carolina became the first State in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy portfolio standard. Today, North Carolina is one of 29 states who have adopted the standard to encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency development. Utilities have several options for complying with the REPS, including:
Using renewable resources to generate power at new or existing power plants
Purchasing bundled or unbundled power and renewable energy certificates, known as "RECs", from renewable energy facilities; and
- Implementing energy efficiency measures to reduce demand.
The REPS has already proven to be an important clean energy policy to utilities, their customers, industry leaders, and decision-makers in our state. Since its adoption, it has saved utility customers $162 million through investments in low cost clean energy resources (Source: RTI/ScottMadden 2015). NCSEA continuously monitors REPS compliance and works with stakeholders to ensure utilities are meeting their obligations under the law.
North Carolina's Interconnection Standard and related Interconnection Issues
Interconnection is the process by which clean energy resources including solar, wind, biomass, and battery storage tie to the electric grid. The standards set for this process determine the financial and administrative ease or difficulty of tying clean energy to the grid. NCSEA continues to work with stakeholders on ways that will make interconnection easier and more streamlined.
Net-metering (NEM) is a service between an electric utility and a customer in which electric energy generated by an on-site facility, such as a renewable energy system, can be used to offset electricity provided by the utility to the customer. Not all electric providers offer NEM programs. Of the providers that do, some may have limited NEM offerings or offer nontraditional/hybrid NEM. Net-metering policies can also give property owners retail credit for on-site facilities that deliver excess energy not used by the customer to the grid. NCSEA works to preserve the current rules to ensure that North Carolina's success with renewable energy systems, such as residential solar, continues.
Explore this interactive map to see North Carolina's electric cooperatives and municipalities that offer net-metering programs to their customers who are interested in installing on-site systems to generate electricity.
Avoided Cost Ratemaking Proceeding
The avoided cost rates set by the Commission have the ability to shape the entire clean energy landscape. For example, in addition to serving as the basis for setting the price paid to developers for the electricity their qualifying facilities (QFs) sell to the grid, avoided cost rates set the cost-effectiveness threshold for energy efficiency measures. NCSEA continues to advocate for fair avoided cost rates that adequately compensate clean energy system owners and developers for the energy and the benefits to other ratepayers they create. (For more information, see the Commission Docket No. E-100, Sub 140)
Want to know more about NCSEA's engagement at the NC Utilities Commission? Click here to search dockets, or click here to search for "North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association" or “NCSEA”.