Clean energy advocates are challenging incumbents in two utility co-op board elections this summer.
“Nobody got everything they wanted, but it advanced the cause of rooftop solar and net metering,” an advocate said.
The legislation lifts a net metering cap for cooperatives and allows their customers to install larger solar projects.
As solar prices become competitive with fossil fuels, member-owned electric cooperatives are beginning to embrace renewables.
While much of North Carolina’s energy focus is on Duke Energy, advancements made by the state’s 26 electric cooperatives, should not be overlooked. Co-op officials say their organizational structure allows them to be nimble, enabling them to incorporate new technology more quickly than large investor-owned utilities, technology that gives consumers added control while helping them to become more energy efficient. And, what they’re learning from a couple of microgrid pilot programs will guide their future renewable energy investments. To learn more about North Carolina’s co-ops – which serve roughly a quarter of the state’s population, Southeast Energy News asked Nelle P. Hotchkiss, Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations at North Carolina’s Association of Electric Cooperatives, to participate in a Q&A. Southeast Energy News: What prompted the creation of electric co-ops in North Carolina?