My remarks regarding NC Clean Power Plan and Lawsuit

Last month, I was given the opportunity to speak to representatives of the North Carolina’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources at a public hearing. Our state is included in law suit against the EPA having the authority to require the states to develop a Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions. In companion to this suit, our state leaders developed a poor attempt, in my view, at addressing the required plan.

Here are my remarks which had to be limited to three minutes.

My name is Keith Wilson. I am an Independent voter and NC taxpayer.

I am speaking to you as both a tree hugger and business person.

I am disappointed in our state’s position on the Clean Power Plan and advocate moving the ball further down the path of renewable energy than the plan is required to do.

I say this as per the 2015 Global Risks Report prepared by the World Economic Forum, the two greatest risks noted by member organizations over the next 10 years are:

(1) Global Water Crisis and

(2) Failure to act on climate change

The need to move to renewable energy is more than a climate change issue, it is a water issue. As noted by the excellent Charlotte Observer series last month, we have global, national and regional water crisis, which will only be made worse by climate change.

Water is the new oil.

In the Observer series, it noted that Duke Energy loses about 1%- 2% of water on a daily basis when creating power from the Catawba River using fossil fuel and nuclear energy. The water is lost through dissipated steam.

At a conference called “Our Water: An Uncertain Future” last month, the director of Duke’s Water Strategy noted that Duke Energy includes climate change impact in their water projection models. He noted that they expect to lose an additional 11% of reservoir water due to more evaporation from climate change.

Per Duke’s projections, the Catawba River cannot support the growth in the Metro Charlotte area without change.

The move from water intensive fossil fuel and nuclear energy to renewable energy is key, as solar and wind energy need not be water reliant to create power.

Man-influenced climate change will only make our water problem worse.

From a business standpoint, there are several reasons why the move to renewable energy is key.

The fossil fuel industry likes to tout jobs and impact on people in poverty as drawbacks to the move. These are shortsighted reasons, as solar and wind energy jobs are growing like gangbusters with double digit growth.  On the cost of energy being higher, that is also shortsighted as well and is using the wrong equation.

The cost of production of renewables continues to fall and wind energy is the most cost effective source in the UK and Germany, right now. But, that is not the right equation.

A total cost equation will look at the present value cost of production,

  • plus healthcare,
  • plus environmental degradation,
  • plus water loss,
  • plus litigation,
  • plus maintenance of coal ash sites.

When these total costs are compared, my guess is the result will easily favor renewable energy.

Further, companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are relocating power intensive data centers to NC due to our solar energy success and incentives. These companies are attracted to innovation.


So, the tree hugger in me says you better be concerned about our water and what climate change will do to it.

The business person in me says, the better bet is on renewables.

Let me close that this is not just a progressive issue. Per a ClearPath survey of conservative voters, 75% favor a move down the path of renewable energy.

It is time our state and national leaders caught on to this desire.

My strong recommendation is to improve the Clean Power Plan and stop wasting taxpayer money on the shortsighted EPA lawsuit.

15 thoughts on “My remarks regarding NC Clean Power Plan and Lawsuit

    • Thanks. I proudly wear that banner, but like to remind name callers that I am a business person, as well. That line did get a chuckle from the crowd. It was nice to see several young folks speak as well.

  1. Note to Readers: I have found that a profound example of our water crisis can be found in Saudi Arabia, a country rich in oil, but poor in water. The very religious Saudi Imams have amended their laws that it is OK to pray with sand, instead of water. Think about that for a moment.

  2. I’m so happy you had this opportunity to hopefully open some minds. Never an easy task, but at least you tried to enlighten the crowd.
    “Water is the new oil” made me think about the Mad Max movie from back in the day …. not so fictional now is it?

    • Lisa, thanks. Those Mad Max movies are hopefully not prescient. They assume devastation due to a nuclear apocalypse, but the more likely causes would be overpopulation, lack of water and a heated climate. The line “water is the new oil” is cited often, but comes from the book by Steven Solomon called “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization.” It is one of the best history books I have read plus it cautions us about the future. Thanks, Keith

      • Oklahoma apparently is being hit by a wave of earthquakes caused, they think, by the fracking that is widespread in that state. Surely, we are suffering from the effects of rampant greed.

      • Hugh, the data continues to build a case against fracking. Already, there is correlation between fracking and bad things happening, but they are now able to isolate and say fracking is causal of earthquakes with deep underground disposal. Now, with the methane leak in California, it is showing what one scientist has noted that when you add accidental and planned (vented) methane leaks along with transportation emissions, fracking is detrimental to climate change, overshadowing the positive impact of burning natural gas versus coal. Methane is worse than carbon in the air. Thanks, Keith

    • Kim, I hope so. The cynic in me would tell me they were there for window dressing. There were many excellent speakers, so hopefully some of it sank in. Keith

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