Clean energy would create 125,000 to 173,000 jobs, while the utility sector would lose 16,000 jobs. The resulting total impact from the cleaner energy plan is an increase in employment in North Carolina, ranging from 109,000 to 157,000 jobs.
The study finds if this cleaner energy plan was implemented, residential customers would save an average of $101 per year on their electric bills and non-residential customers would save approximately $611 per year.
Matt Cox, co-author of the report, said the aim of the report is not to villainize Duke Energy but rather to evaluate if its plans are the most effective.
According to the report, renewable energy would not take away local jobs. Clean energy tends to create more labor-intensive and localized jobs.
“You can’t really outsource the design and installation of rooftop solar or if you’re building a wind farm in the state — those people have to be based there,” Rogers said. “We don’t have any coal mines or natural gas drilling so all the fuel that actually produces the power in North Carolina, all that is for the most part, that labor, is coming from other parts of the country.”
Cox said an issue with nuclear plants jobs is that most of the labor required is mainly for initially building the plant and after the plant is built, not many workers are needed to maintain it. He said as technology advances, renewable energy will continue to create a variety of labor based jobs and more long-term projects.
Randy Wheeless, a spokesperson from Duke Energy, said the cleaner energy plan is unrealistic.
“They talk about energy efficiency and they have a big chunk of that but they didn’t really have any details of how do you get that," he said. "How much do you have to spend to get all that renewable energy?”
Wheeless said the natural gas emissions in the report were actually higher than the projected emissions in the Duke plan.
Xiajoing Sun, a co-author of the report, said this was due to a decrease in total emissions.
“We saved 10 percent of natural gas in this clean energy plan that would’ve otherwise been consumed if Duke had continued with their current plan," she said. "So when you look at the breakdown of the emissions produced although some percentages may be higher, it’s only because the pie as a whole is significantly smaller."
Wheeless said Duke Energy does not have plans after they meet their current renewable energy goal, but if renewable energy prices stay low and regulations don't change, it could be a part of the company's future.
Sun said renewable energy is the most logical option for North Carolina's future of energy.
“As clean energy becomes more affordable it doesn’t make sense to maintain the expenses of natural gas based energy,” Sun said.