Major employers and energy consumers urge North Carolina elected officials to expand access to clean energy and electric vehicles

Nearly two dozen major companies and large energy consumers with operations in North Carolina are urging state policymakers to expand access to clean energy technologies and electric vehicles in order to drive economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.  

In a letter delivered to members of the North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper, 22 companies, universities, and trade associations urged elected officials to consider policies and programs that will increase access to cost-effective, clean energy technologies. Additional policy action is needed to meet North Carolina’s power plant emissions reduction goals and maintain the state’s competitive advantage as an economic leader. The companies on the letter include Gaia Herbs, New Belgium Brewing Co., Nestlé, SAS, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Trane Technologies, Unilever, and VF Corporation, among others. 

“Strong, decisive clean energy policies will signal that North Carolina is “open for business” — thereby attracting in-state investments, creating jobs, and helping businesses access additional opportunities to save money and strengthen their competitive advantage,” they wrote in the letter.  

The companies also reaffirmed their support for North Carolina’s goal to reduce carbon emissions 70% by 2030 and achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, as required by House Bill 951 enacted in 2021. Many were strong advocates for the state to pass House Bill 951, as well as for robust renewable energy and energy efficiency utility programs. They are now urging further policy and regulatory action to solidify North Carolina’s commitment to clean energy and electric vehicles to help the state attract investment, save businesses and consumers money, and bring new jobs to local communities. 

“From the way we plant and grow the ingredients used in our products, to their harvest and distribution, Sustainability is at the core of our business at Gaia Herbs because a healthy climate is critical to our ability to continue to prosper as a North Carolina-based business,” said Alison E. Czeczuga, director of sustainability and impact at Gaia Herbs, based in Brevard. “As a verified B Corporation, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and strongly support legislative and administrative solutions that help facilitate our efforts while ensuring the entire North Carolina economy can move toward this goal as quickly as possible.” 

“Nestlé is committed to a more sustainable future, and ambitious state policies make it possible for companies to meet their pollution goals while growing the economy,” said Megan Villarreal, director of government relations at Nestlé, which has a manufacturing facility under construction in Rockingham County. “As North Carolina progresses through the 2023 legislative session, we welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers and the Cooper administration on new measures to build upon the momentum in the state’s clean energy industry and achieve the state’s climate and economic goals.” 

There are more than 85 companies with operations in North Carolina that have set goals to power their operations with 100% renewable energy sources—and many more with other clean energy, electric vehicle, or emissions reduction goals—and they want to see state policies and programs that support their electricity needs as they work to reduce risk and stay competitive in their respective sectors.   

“Companies have a choice where to locate or expand their operations. We’re seeing firsthand that companies that select states that have strong clean energy policies and customer programs that help them meet their clean energy and emissions reduction goals,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director of state policy at Ceres. “We look forward to working with North Carolina’s elected officials to build upon its clean energy policies to ensure North Carolina remains open for business and ready to reap the economic benefits of a clean energy and electric transportation economy.” 

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