With the Shearon Harris plant at our back door, you might think so. But more than half of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
Just as a drop of water in the ocean could have come from any of the headwaters of the rivers that empty into that ocean, so CUCC’s electricity flows through a grid supplied by electricity generation plants throughout the U.S. We can’t say how or where “our” electricity has been generated.
As demand changes throughout the day and season, utilities buy and sell what they generate, sending electricity into the integrated national grid. "Even though North Carolina is among the top 10 electricity-generating states in the nation, it is a net recipient of interstate transfers of electricity."1 For instance, Duke Energy Progress (CUCC’s utility) buys 11% of its electricity (2013 data).2 So, perhaps we need to think on the scale of the national grid. In 2013 in the United States about 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), with 39% attributed from coal.1
Or we could look at electricity generated in North Carolina. Utilities are regulated by states; that’s why the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing state by state goals for CO
2 emissions from electricity generation. Here's North Carolina's electricity profile: “[C]oal and natural gas together consistently account for approximately three-fifths of the state's net electricity generation.” 3 (2013 data)
Maybe we should focus on the utility CUCC pays for electricity? CUCC pays Duke Energy Progress to generate electricity and to maintain the grid (transmission and distribution) to get electricity to us. 58% of the electricity Duke Energy Progress generates comes from fossil fuels.4
So, Great Questioner, no matter how you look at it, the majority of CUCC's electricity is generated by fossil fuels.
1 “What is US electricity generation by energy source?” U.S. Energy Information Agency.
2 “Annual Report Regarding Long Range Needs for Expansion of Electric Generation Facilities for Service in North Carolina,”p. 14. The North Carolina Utilities Commission.
3 “North Carolina Profile Analysis: Electricity” U.S. Energy Information Agency.
4 “Power Profiler: Progress Energy Carolinas (Duke Energy Corp-NC)” Environmental Protection Agency.