Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Energy and Environment

Energy consumption and its environmental impact are fundamental drivers of economic development.

The Kenan Institute works with public- and private-sector clients to analyze the economic opportunities and challenges in the areas of energy, environment and economic development and help them develop profitable, sustainable solutions.

Renewable Energy Development

The Kenan Institute offers strategic and technical help to states and communities seeking to develop renewable solutions for their energy needs.

  • Business of Biofuels project – The institute developed the financial model being used by the state of North Carolina to determine how to build a biofuels industry capable of producing 10 percent of the state’s liquid fuel consumption.
  • N.C.’s Role in the Global Biomass Energy Market – Institute researchers are analyzing the global markets that could compete for North Carolina’s woody biomass supplies and the range of issues that affect it, from demand and pricing to public policy to export capabilities.
  • The Economic Impact of Biomass Alternatives on N.C.’s Economy – The institute is comparing the economic impact of producing biomass for export with producing it as a feedstock for energy generation within the state and examining the viability of hardwoods vs. energy grasses for use as feedstocks.

Price of Power

Institute researchers are examining the economic consequences of the significantly higher costs many residents in eastern North Carolina pay for electricity compared to the rest of the state and the nation.

2012 report to a N.C. General Assembly committee highlighted the impact and potential solutions for overcoming this obstacle to economic growth.

High electricity prices exacerbate the economic problems of a region that has seen declines in both manufacturing and agriculture sectors in recent decades.

Energy Investments

The institute is assessing the risk and financial viability of using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds to promote energy efficiency and growth of the green economy.

Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have passed laws since 2008 enabling local governments to establish districts that allow residential and commercial property owners to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements on their properties.

The institute is examining the risk associated with this financial instrument and what potential pricing and rating can be expected.

Energy Business Development

The Kenan Institute connects companies working in the energy and environment industry with public sector organizations seeking renewable solutions to meet their energy needs.


For more information on the institute’s energy and environment work, contact Thomas Stith, program director for economic development, at (919) 962.8444 or .

Fueling a New Industry

In the News: High energy costs hinder eastern N.C.’s economic growth