North Carolina shares many characteristics with its fellow Southeastern U.S. states. Like most of them, it’s a vertically integrated market without competitive generation or federally regulated wholesale energy markets. And like most of its neighbors, it’s dominated by a large investor-owned utility covering vast swaths of territory interspersed by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives, and it has a big say in state energy policy.
But North Carolina also differs from its neighbors in some key ways. While Republicans hold a majority in the state legislature, North Carolina has a Democratic governor who’s pushing for the state to adopt a clean energy and decarbonization standard. It also has a lot more solar, the second-most of any state other than California. Finally, North Carolina has Duke Energy, its flagship utility, which has set its own goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 and has taken some innovative approaches to distributed energy resources.