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Capital Connections - May 2024

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Governor's 2024 Budget


Last month, Gov. Roy Cooper unveiled his $34.5 billion budget proposal emphasizing significant investments in public schools and a temporary halt on private school vouchers. Cooper proposed an average 8.5% raise for teachers, a 5% raise for other state employees, and a $1,500 bonus for most state workers. His plan also includes a moratorium on increasing funds for North Carolina's Opportunity Scholarships for private schools, citing concerns about the impact on public education.  


The energy provisions of the governor’s proposal focus on workforce development for the industry and increasing sustainability and efficiency funding for state buildings.  


Additionally, the budget includes a $745 million allocation for early childhood education, addressing the expiration of federal funding for many childhood education centers, as well as a $2.5 billion school construction bond to fund building 90 new elementary and middle schools statewide.

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Rhian Ray

Government Affairs Manager



Leah Kirby

Senior Copywriter


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Funding Opportunity


The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) State Energy Office is offering grants supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (IIJA) to enhance the resilience of electric grids. 


About $18.4 million is available, with $5.7 million specifically for small utilities. These grants aim to provide funding to states, including U.S. territories and Native American tribes, to bolster the resilience of their electric grids. 


This initiative, falling under IIJA provision 40101(d), is a joint effort administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Its mission is to fortify and modernize America's power grid, ensuring it can stand strong against challenges like wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters, all made worse by the climate crisis.  


DEQ is accepting proposals through May 29. 


Find out more here.  

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Price-Anderson Act Extended


Gov. Cooper announced new funding initiatives aimed at expanding access to solar energy across communities in North Carolina. The state's Solar for All coalition, EnergizeNC, secured a $156 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund program. This funding targets those in low-income and disadvantaged areas to benefit from solar energy. EPA's Solar for All program is expected to create 200,000 jobs nationwide and save participating households approximately $400 annually.  


The EnergizeNC coalition, led by the North Carolina DEQ’s State Energy Office in collaboration with various organizations, aims to deploy rooftop solar on low-income homes to generate savings for residents. 

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Distribution Transformer Legislation


The U.S. House approved an amendment to H.R. 6192, the Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act, proposed by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and Troy Balderson (R-OH), that would prevent the implementation of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) distribution transformer efficiency rule. The American Public Power Association (APPA) refrained from taking a stance on the amendment, noting improvements in the final rule issued on April 22 and the unlikelihood of the amended bill progressing in the Senate. Four Democrats, including Representative Don Davis (NC), supported the amendment.  


Over the past year and a half, ElectriCities and its members have collaborated frequently with the staff of Rep. Hudson, Rep. Davis, and other members of the North Carolina delegation on this issue. While ElectriCities welcomed the final changes DOE made to the rule, we also stand behind Rep. Hudson and Rep. Davis in their efforts to postpone the rulemaking. This would grant our electric departments and the manufacturing industry additional time to prepare for such changes. 

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Nuclear Energy Package


Last week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed S. 870, the Fire Grants and Safety Act. The bill now includes the ADVANCE Act of 2024, a nuclear regulatory reform initiative. The ADVANCE Act aims to expedite the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) licensing procedures and to incentivize the development of new nuclear technologies. It outlines criteria for NRC awards, covering license issuance and imposes fee limits to promote the adoption of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. The bill also directs the NRC to enhance coordination with DOE regarding qualifying and licensing advanced nuclear fuel. 

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Hearing on CIRCIA Implementation


In April, the House Homeland Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection held a hearing on CIRCIA implementation. The hearing addressed the recently released notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to implement the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act (CIRCIA). APPA submitted a statement for the record and sought feedback on an outline for a response to the NOPR by May 13, with a joint request for a 30-day extension of the comment period.  


Key themes and highlights from the witnesses who testified at the hearing included concerns over the broad definitions of "covered entities" and "covered incidents" in the NOPR, and the need for harmonization with existing reporting mandates from agencies like the DOE and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).  


Witnesses recommended leveraging existing reporting regimes to limit duplicative reporting and utilizing sector risk management agencies as entry points for critical sectors. They also offered suggestions to revise the definition of "substantial cyber incident" to ensure a higher threshold for reporting and to refine parameters for incident reporting, streamline reporting, and reduce compliance costs. 

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Dates We’re Watching


Aug. 12-14, 2024; ElectriCities Annual Conference ; Asheville, North Carolina 


Fall 2024: ElectriCities regional meetings


ElectriCities of NC

1427 Meadow Wood Blvd. Raleigh, NC 27604