Clean Energy, Dirty Prices: The Disconnect Between Low-Income Communities and Renewable Energy in Western North Carolina
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Since the introduction of state- and nationwide renewable energy sources in the early 1990s, renewable energy, and its implementation into society has been an issue filled with hardship and conflict. Facing pushback from politicians and fluctuation of prices by manufacturers, Americans are struggling to smoothly make the switch to clean energy. Low-income Americans are finding it the hardest among those in the nation struggling to switch to clean energy solutions. High prices and a lack of easily accessible government solutions have made it challenging for those living in poverty to make the switch, leading to a common phenomenon known as energy poverty. In western North Carolina, specifically Asheville, these hardships hold just as true. The lack of state government funding for residential renewable energy solutions and high prices for personal renewable energy producers have created a disconnect between those living in energy poverty and renewable energy solutions. I take a deeper look into this lack of government assistance and the high prices relating to clean energy, how this combination has caused severe energy poverty in the U.S. and specifically western North Carolina and will propose possible solutions to be implemented in WNC so that renewable energy disconnect in low-income communities will slowly disappear.