North Carolina Could Repeal Renewable Energy Policy

In states across the country where Republicans have a majority, they are working feverishly to restrict voting (53 laws in 30 states), a woman’s right to choose and to repeal supportive policies for renewable energy.

In North Carolina, repeal of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has passed out of committee and could be voted on as soon as this week (House Bill 298). 

Ironically, this comes just as the state is trumpeting its renewable energy growth at the 10th annual Sustainable Energy Conference in Raleigh, sponsored by the N.C. Department of Commerce, says Tom Gray in the American Wind Energy Association’s blog.

"If H298 passes, it will virtually eliminate the market for new renewable energy projects, since a free market does not exist where clean energy can compete head to head with the utilities.   House Bill 298 signals the rules are changing and clean energy investments are no longer welcome here," said Betsy McCorkle of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association at a press conference. 

In 2001, there were three solar companies in the state. Now, there are hundreds thanks to the RPS. 

The state came in 4th in the US last year for new solar installations, adding 132 megawatts (MW), and is among the 10 states that have over 100,000 green jobs.

A local developer is planning a 100 MW solar plant, the biggest in the east, and Apple now boasts the biggest corporate-owned solar PV and fuel cell system, there.

North Carolina adopted the RPS in 2007, the first southeast state to do so and the 25th state in the US. It had strong bipartisan support. It requires only 3% of renewables by 2014 and rises gradually after that, reaching 12% by 2021. Utilities can meet the targets through energy efficiency in addition to adding renewables or buying certificates.

ALEC has prioritized the elimination of state efforts to move toward renewable energy.  We’re now seeing them taking action in a number of states to repeal their RPS

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