On Sept. 27, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement of a clean energy plan for the state was met with applause from environmental groups — but protesters also called on Cooper to revoke permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and to end large-scale deforestation that is supplying European biomass power plants. The plan is a follow-up to Cooper’s October 2018 executive order, which set a 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal for state agencies by 2025. The plan sets a goal of full carbon neutrality in the electric power sector by 2050.
On Sept. 17, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 43, establishing clean energy goals for the commonwealth. The order requires several state agencies to develop a plan by July 2020 to meet renewable energy goals, which include sourcing 30 percent of Virginia power from renewable resources by 2030. Northam also announced a goal of achieving full carbon neutrality in the electric generation sector by 2050 using sources such as nuclear, solar and wind. The order does not define “renewable energy,” which could include carbon-intensive biomass and trash incinerators as power sources. Additionally, the order makes no mention of the Mountain Valley or Atlantic Coast pipelines. — K.R.