City of Asheville participates in the energy regulatory process

Green energy concept with Planet Earth and electric plug on lush grass

The City and the community have demonstrated leadership in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change locally but we recognize that climate change is a global issue. Due to this complexity the City continues to advocate for clean energy and climate mitigation policy at all levels of government and we are excited to share an update on two  such actions:

On December 12, 2020 Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer joined over 1,000 leaders from local governments, businesses, universities, and other institutions across the country as part of the “America Is All In” multi-sector statement supporting upholding the Paris Accord. We are encouraged to see President Biden rejoin the Paris Accord on his first day in office!

In January, 2020 City Council voted to participate in the Amicus brief in which the City, along with 23 cities and counties from 16 states across the country, objected to the EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule that was a dangerously weak rule for managing emissions from power plants. Fast forward to January 2021 where a federal appeals court struck down the ACE Rule, “saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants”.

Slightly closer to home, staff is working to advocate for updates to utility regulations and electricity market structures to accelerate the deployment of clean energy.

First, from February 2020 to December 2020 the City of Asheville participated in a group of North Carolina energy stakeholders collaborated through the North Carolina Energy Regulatory Process (NERP) to consider updates to utility regulations and electricity market structures. NERP worked to produce recommendations for policy and regulatory changes that can be delivered by the participants to the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Governor, NCUC, and other entities as appropriate. To learn more about this effort and to read the recommendations from the group please visit the Department of Environmental Quality’s website.

Secondly, in November City Council voted to intervene in Duke Energy’s latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at the NC Utilities Commission. IRP is a planning document that utilities use to communicate strategies for delivering reliable electricity at the lowest cost (typically a 10 to 20 year horizon). The City applauds Duke Energy for modeling six scenarios in their latest IRP which include pathways for Duke Energy to reach their net-zero carbon goal. The City will provide comments regarding the City’s renewable energy goals as they relate to the IRP.

All of these efforts support the advancement of Resolution 18-279 – 100% renewable energy goal and Resolution 20-25 declaring a climate emergency.