A better future, one clean energy job at a time.

Gov. Cooper announces Atom expansion

Dec. 5. By Roy Cooper. [Opinion] An economic shift to clean energy is taking place across the world, demanded by communities and businesses and supplied by private markets. When I took office in 2017, we saw this shift coming and planned to make North Carolina a leader in clean energy so that our entire state would benefit from good new jobs and historic investments.

Nearly seven years later, North Carolina’s efforts clearly are paying off.

Clean energy isn’t just about producing electricity, which is vital. It’s about the shift to electric vehicles. It’s about zero carbon commercial aviation. So we’re not just helping to create jobs to build offshore wind turbines, we’re helping to create manufacturing jobs for that supply chain, and for automobile assembly, and for jet liners.

Powerful potential

There are already tens of thousands of new N.C. clean energy jobs and the potential for so many more is astounding. Companies across the world have known that clean energy is good for the planet and great for the bottom line. As the global economy moves toward clean energy, I want N.C. communities to benefit. If you don’t think energy jobs are a real part of economic development strategy, people whose careers are built on energy would like to have a word with you.

Getting it done

How do we unleash the power of the private market to create these great jobs?

We’ve started by building the well-trained workforce and infrastructure necessary to attract them here.

With billions of federal dollars available from the Biden administration, we’ve committed unprecedented funding to rebuild resilient and efficient roads, bridges and aging water systems in communities large and small. We’re strengthening our ports and rail infrastructure so people and goods can move more quickly and affordably. We’re connecting homes and businesses to high-speed internet — a necessity in today’s world.

We’re investing in our workforce development with a “cradle-to-career” strategy, partnering with high schools, community colleges, and the clean energy industry to build work-based learning, apprenticeships and more.


And we’re aligning our government with the direction of the private market.

I worked with legislators to implement carbon reduction requirements for the power sector so private employers in North Carolina can access reliable, affordable energy while meeting their own climate pledges.

Working with legislators and state and local economic development officials, we’re focusing on recruiting clean energy companies, particularly in advanced manufacturing.


Finally, we’re building relationships with the clean energy companies and recruiting them to make investments in our state. In Randolph County, Toyota is investing $13.9 billion and creating 5,100 jobs to build batteries for electric and hybrid cars, likely the largest single clean energy investment in American history. In Chatham County, VinFast is investing $2 billion and creating 7,500 jobs to build electric SUVs. In Siler City, Wolfspeed is investing $5 billion and creating 1,800 jobs to build the processors needed for clean energy initiatives. In Greensboro, Boom is investing $500 million and creating 1,750 jobs to build the first supersonic zero carbon commercial airliner. And the list goes on.

When global employers invest billions of dollars in a N.C. project they are committing to stay. And many of them are locating in rural communities that have too often been left out of our state’s growth. That’s a win-win.

Jobs, jobs

As a result of these efforts and the most skilled, dedicated and diverse workforce in the country, North Carolina has been named the Best State for Business by CNBC two years in a row. And we’ve been hailed as the epicenter for clean energy jobs.

Clean energy is the right thing to do to protect our planet and combat climate change. But it’s also the right thing to do for our economy and putting more money in the pockets of our small businesses and families. In North Carolina, we’re now leading the way, and we’re just getting started.

—Cooper is in his second and final four-year term as governor of North Carolina.


One Response to “A better future, one clean energy job at a time.”

  1. We are in a unique position to repatriate many jobs in advanced manufacturing needed for the deployment of clean energy. Our biggest challenge is the interconnection of new clean energy resources to the electrical grid. The grid is currently operated by utilities which are regulated monopolies. We must find a way to change the business model for utilities in order to embrace the cost savings that distributed clean energy can provide, and the supply that clean energy resource can provide to meet the needs that the electrification of transport will require.

    Posted by Joel Olsen | December 5, 2023, 1:05 pm

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