In North Carolina, a house panel began the process of repealing a law that requires state electric utilities to generate a certain amount of power from renewable energy.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard law was originally passed in 2007 and has garnered praise for North Carolina as a progressive energy state in the South. The law requires utilities to generate 3 percent of their retail sales from renewable energy sources or efficiency efforts, with that percentage increasing over time to 6 percent in 2015 and 12.5 percent in 2021 and following years.
But in an 11-10 vote last week, the Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets passed a bill that would cap renewable energy and efficiency requirements by power companies, electric cooperatives and city-owned electric utilities at 6 percent, and all the requirements would end in 2018, according to the Associated Press.
The legislation must still go through three more committees before getting to the House floor. Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, one of the primary sponsors of the bill, said he wants the law repealed because he doesn’t think taxpayers should have to subsidize renewable energy. Hager’s objection is based on the fact utilities can pass along part of the cost of complying with the law to ratepayers. The maximum would be $150 per year for commercial customers and $1,000 per year for manufacturing plants.
The law also requires that some of the renewable energy comes from solar farms and swine and poultry waste, where its methane is converted into energy. The new bill would eliminate the solar requirement.
If passed, the bill would adversely affect NC-based Strata Solar, which is the process of planning a 100 MW DC solar farm in Warsaw, NC, that will be the largest of its kind within the state. Strata Solar plans to break ground on the Chapel Hill Solar Farm at the end of 2013.
The action against renewables in North Carolina follows news in March that the Louisiana Public Service Commission nixed plans for a statewide energy efficiency program.