North Carolina Solar Requirements NOT Reducing ‘Pollution’ Like Officials Thought it Would


The state of North Carolina has some of the most involved solar power rules in America short of California’s. But now that the rules have been in place for a suitable period of time, officials are finding out that the requirements really don’t solve the pollution problem at all.

The Tar Heel State has fallen for the liberal “green energy” myth hook, line, and sinker by ramping up requirements for solar power to fill a larger role in the state’s energy needs. It was assumed that this was all a good thing, that “pollution” would decline and that the state would be less responsible for global warming.

Reality seems to have intruded on that fantasy.

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After living with these regulations for a while, the state’s Duke Energy company is asking for changes in the solar requirements because the solutions are just not living up to the claims the politicians said that they would.

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Imagine that.

As the Federalist reported:

Duke is asking North Carolina regulators to ease air quality emission limits for some of Duke’s combustion turbine facilities. The utility is trying to reduce air pollution it says is due to the increased penetration of solar power. North Carolina ranks second in the nation, behind only California, in the amount of installed solar plants.

Duke’s problem shows what happens when basic science collides with operational reality. Solar energy is intermittent. Until a reasonable storage technology is available, natural gas plants must operate when solar is brought on and off the grid. Put simply, the gas plant is generating power when the sun isn’t shining. Duke’s applications reportedly show that, due to the see-saw effect of deploying solar, emissions of the pollutant nitrogen oxide have increased, even though the level is lower than emissions from purely coal-based energy.

Duke has also noted that despite previous assumptions, carbon dioxide emissions also went up, not down.

Why? Because solar plants only work when the sun is shining, shockingly enough.

It turns out that when zero-emission nuclear plants are dialed back to make room for solar, greenhouse gas-emitting plants must be employed to give nuclear plants time to ramp back up when the sun goes down. That’s not exactly the results environmentalists were expecting from the push to adopt solar power.

Green energy just does not work. At least not now. The science and the tech just isn’t there.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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