Electricity

Power plant in Goldsboro, NC.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/11441208065/

NC WARN, a progressive environmental non-profit, is teaming up with an unlikely partner: the John Locke Foundation. The two organizations share a desire to increase competition in the power industry and challenge Duke Energy's monopoly on electricity in the state.  
NCSU students study an array of solar panels on top of the NSF FREEDM Systems Center.
Marc Hall / North Carolina State University

Raleigh might soon have a group-purchasing program that would make it cheaper for residents to install solar panels on their homes. North Carolina Solar Center Director Steve Kalland  says solar power is popular among state utilities. They save money buying the costly technology in bulk. Kalland says homeowners are also interested in using cheaper, greener energy.

"The opportunity to do this has been somewhat constrained in North Carolina because the cost of these smaller-scale projects is somewhat higher than the large-scale projects," Kalland says.

CHP system at UNC
www.southeastcleanenergy.org

Energy watchdog group NC WARN is asking state utilities commissioners to look at an alternative way for companies to generate electrical power.  NC WARN sent a report to commissioners outlining a process called "cogeneration” that allows businesses to use an on-site turbine to generate electricity and capture escaping heat.  The group's report says doing that can drop the rate of wasted energy from 55 percent to as low as 20 percent.

Swine Waste
Asma Khalid

Back in 2007, North Carolina passed the first renewable energy mandate in the Southeast. The new rules say that by the end of this year at least three percent of all electricity needs to come from green sources. The power companies say they'll easily meet that, but they're going to come up short on two fronts. The law includes a provision for electricity from poultry waste and hog manure. The utilities say they can't meet either one of those terms.