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The Electric Grid of the Future

August 8, 2017

The energy landscape is changing. More and more, renewable energy plays a larger role on how we generate and consume power. Fundamental differences between traditional power generation technology and renewable sources requires an overhaul of the entire energy industry, from infrastructure to busines … Continued

More Federal Funding Available to Grow Clean Energy Small Businesses

March 23, 2016

Back in September, this blog highlighted a new program from US EPA to work with small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies that tackle critical environmental problems:  the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.  Now the US Department of Energy’s Office of Ener … Continued

How to Measure Job Creation from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

December 22, 2015

  In past posts, we have discussed how governments can use financing programs to encourage energy improvements and how energy improvements can turn undesirable properties into economic opportunities.  In fact, economic development and job creation are some of the major benefits touted by govern … Continued

Can you feel it Coming in the Air? Rural Economic Development and Wind Farms

August 6, 2015

Money may not literally grow on trees, but a glance at North Carolina’s rural economies reveals that cash crops sprout not just in our long-cultivated cotton and tobacco fields: they now also root in the steep hillsides of northwestern Christmas tree farms and navigate the waters flowing through the … Continued

CDFI Profile: The Natural Capital Investment Fund

January 22, 2015

A previous blog post discussed the role of Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, in North Carolina. CDFIs are typically smaller financial institutions that engage in mission-driven lending intended to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to fo … Continued

Waste Not, Want Not: Local Financing Options for Renewable Energy from Swine Waste in North Carolina

May 6, 2014

Eastern North Carolina is home to the densest industrial swine farming activity in the world.  The pork production industry is foundational to the eastern North Carolina economy, accounting for 11,821 jobs and over $200 million in wages (UNC Chapel Hill, 2013).  This activity comes with a cost, howe … Continued

Change or Die: Why Big Electric Needs to Think Small

February 25, 2014

The business model of electric utilities has remained largely unchanged in nearly 100 years. Until now, this capital-intensive industry has primarily recovered revenues through the sale of energy units, or kilowatt-hours: a use more, pay more approach. Most electric utilities operate as state-regula … Continued

Can Environmental Regulation Promote Economic Development?

November 26, 2013

In response to pressure from the state’s new data centers, Duke Energy recently filed a pilot program with the North Carolina Utilities Commission requesting approval to directly sell renewable energy to “new” industrial customers in the state. This pilot program seems directly targeted to the new d … Continued

Using Energy Programs to Turn Undesirable Properties into Economic Opportunities

June 25, 2013

Local governments may find opportunities for economic development through energy programs and energy installations.  Some communities have even used energy installations to turn otherwise undesirable properties into economic opportunities. The town of Hull, Massachusetts is located on a peninsula in … Continued

Understanding the Energy Use of Your Business and Industry

March 26, 2013

Energy and sustainability programs can be important economic development initiatives for governments.  Governments interested in initiating energy efficiency and renewable energy programs for their business and industry should first learn about how those businesses and industry sites use energy. Two … Continued