Duke Energy can’t stop the sun

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

This could be a game-changer.

Click here to support the ability for all North Carolinians to find affordable solar solutions!

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Earlier this month, state Representative John Szoka (R-Cumberland) introduced HB 245: the Energy Freedom Act. This bill would legalize third-party energy sales in North Carolina, which would allow energy users to buy their electricity directly from renewable energy companies.

But just as soon as this solar access bill was introduced, Duke Energy and its team of lobbyists took to the NC legislature with a mission to stop it dead in its tracks.

Click here to support the Energy Freedom Act to make sure Duke Energy doesn’t stand in the way of North Carolinians having the opportunity to meet their energy needs with solar power!

The Energy Freedom Act, if passed, will allow companies to offer business and residential customers long-term contracts for affordable solar energy without the up-front costs of having to purchase solar panels. The company selling the electricity would own and maintain the panels and sell affordable clean energy to customers. This is a common-sense policy that will save North Carolinians money and protect public health.

Click here to watch our video about how third party sales would benefit North Carolinians.

Only four states in the nation don’t allow business and residents this option–and we are one of them.  Rep. Szoka’s bill would give North Carolinians the freedom of energy choice that most other Americans already enjoy.

The Energy Freedom Act will reduce the need for expensive, polluting traditional power plants and infrastructure, and will help North Carolinians reduce their energy bills by allowing them to choose affordable and cleaner options like solar. Third-party sales can also provide much-needed flexibility to public institutions and the military to reduce their energy costs by allowing them to choose cheaper and more reliable energy sources.

Your voice is critical! Tell your representative to support HB 245 and stand up for consumer choice for clean energy solutions!

Thanks for all that you do.

Great America Clean Up – Charlotte Edition

Here are some fun opportunities to give back to out community and help to clean up Charlotte. If you’re interested in helping to organize a work group, contact Bill Gupton.

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Keep Charlotte Beautiful to host local cleanup events

From March 1 to May 31, Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) will participate in Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup, the country’s largest community improvement program.

In celebration of the Charlotte edition of the Great American Cleanup, KCB will host six local cleanup events, all of which will be held 9 a.m. to noon and will start at the following meeting locations:

  • The Greater Enderly Park Litter Cleanup
    Saturday, March 14
    Enderly Park
    1501 Enderly Road
  • Eastway-Sheffield Litter Cleanup
    Saturday, March 21
    Eastway Middle School
    1501 Norland Road
  • Ridge Road Litter Cleanup
    Saturday, April 18
    Ridge Road Middle School
    7260 Highland Creek Parkway
  • Oaklawn Park Litter Cleanup
    Saturday, April 18
    Meeting location to be determined
  • Little Sugar Creek Stream Cleanup
    Saturday, May 2
    Cordelia Park
    2100 North Davidson Street
  • Grier Heights Neighborhood Cleanup
    Saturday, May 16
    Billingsville Elementary School
    124 Skyland Avenue

Local residents who are interested in participating in the Great American Cleanup are also encouraged to organize their own event by hosting a tree planting party, adopting a local stream or city street, cleaning up a field that has become an illegal dump site, collecting recyclables on their block and more. KCB will provide trash bags, litter pickers and safety vests to groups that organize their own Great American Cleanup event.

For more information, visit kcb.charmeck.org or the organization’s Great American Cleanup webpage to register for one of the events.

Wind Vision: A New Era of Wind Power in the United States

Check out this new report about U.S. wind energy potential. It will blow you away!

The Difference Wind Power is Making Today

Today, wind power provides over 4.5% of U.S. electricity nationwide, and over 20% in several states.  Some of the exciting trends we’ve recently seen in American wind power include:

  • Wind is reaching more and more families – Wind power has delivered a third of all new power capacity in the past five yeras, and a record number of new projects are under construction today.
  • Wind is employing more and more Americans – Wind power has supported an average of 73,000 well-paying American jobs over the past five years and can create hundreds of thousands more with stable, common-sense policies.
  • Wind power prices are coming down fast – In the past five years, the cost of wind power has dropped by over 50% — and is still decreasing!

Expanding Wind Power Will Help Us Tackle Some of Our Biggest Challenges

In tapping our homegrown wind resource, we will tackle some of our biggest challenges:

  • Reducing air pollution by displacing dirty forms of energy with clean wind power.  As we secure more of our power from wind, we will cut emissions of carbon, sulfur, and nitrous oxides, as well as particulate matter, which harm our health and environment.  This would mean a $400 billion savings in climate change damages and an additional $108 billion savings on public health costs.
  • Conserving our water resources by growing a source of power that requires little to no water. Using wind in place of power plants that require substantial amounts of water for cooling processes would cut total U.S. power plant water use by about one quarter, or 260 billion gallons, in 2050 alone.
  • Creating high-paying American jobs in the manufacturing, construction, engineering, and transportation sectors, among others.  American wind industry jobs would total 600,000 in 2050.

We’ll get there by reaching smaller targets along the way – including doubling the amount of power we get from wind in the next five years.  That’s moving us up from securing 4.5% of our electricity from wind power nationwide today, to 10% by 2020.

The Power of Wind community will play a key part in creating this healthier country, by voicing support for the smart, fair energy policies that value clean power.  One quick thing you can do today is make sure your elected officials see this report – please take a moment to send them a note today.

Wind Vision

The Power of Wind community shares a vision of an America where every family has an easy, affordable way to power their home with clean energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report gives a clear picture of how we can create that future.  It shows that wind power can grow from providing over 4.5% of U.S. electricity today to 35% by 2050, becoming America’s largest source of electricity.

To learn more, read the:
Executive summary,
Full report, or
Chapters on specific topics.

Charlotte Environment Committee Meeting – March 16, 12:00

What will our Water System Master Plan look like moving forward? What goals and strategies are needed for 2016 to preserve and protect our Charlotte environment?  Why not attend the CharlotteEnvironment Committee meeting on Monday, March 16 at 12:00 p.m. in Room 280 and find out so that you can speak out?

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Save The Trees – Sat Mar 21 Service Outing

Join us as we help restore and revitalize native plant communities in Freedom Park.  We will spend the morning primarily removing English ivy from the trees along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, part of the Carolina Thread Trail.  Removing English ivy is crucial to maintaining the health of the trees and supports plant biodiversity which creates suitable habitat for wildlife.  It also enhances the beauty of the park that so many of us enjoy.  Children age 8 and up are welcome!

We will supply tools, but feel free to bring your own garden tools as well as work gloves, a hat, water, and snacks.  We’ll work from 9am until noon.  Contact Mary Lou Buck to sign up at maryloubuc@aol.com.

Participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. You can view the waiver here:

https://nc2.sierraclub.org/sites/nc.sierraclub.org/files/SignInWaiver%20with%20photo%20release.pdf

Limited to 25 participants.

Mar 25 Monthly Meeting at MPBC

March monthly meeting change of venue.

Myers Park Baptist will be the venue for an important panel conversation about local and
regional environmental issues on Wednesday, March 25. Sponsored by the Ministry of
Faith Formation and the Earthkeepers Servant Leadership Group, this forum is free and
open to the public.

The conversation will be led by a panel of environmental experts and local leaders,
including Ernie McLaney, Deputy Director of Clean Air Carolina; Sam Perkins, the Catawba
Riverkeeper; Mary Newsom of UNCC’s Urban Institute, Dr. Mark Jensen of Wake
Forest University Divinity School, and Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter. MPBC’s own Chris
William will moderate the discussion.

Members of the panel will begin by speaking about current actions being taken to help
create a more sustainable Charlotte. Then they will respond to questions from the audience.
Please join us for this important forum on March 25 at 6:30pm in Heaton Hall.

The Myers Park Baptist Church is located at 1900 Queens Road, across from Queens University. Parking if free, as is the event.

Hope to see you there.

And note that our Feb meeting on the Catawba River that was cancelled due to the weather has been rescheduled for April 29.

David Robinson, Chair Central Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club