North Carolina Legislators Move Against Renewable Energy

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 Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, one of the primary sponsors of the bill, said he wants the law repealed because he doesn’t think taxpayers should have to subsidize renewable energy.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.

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7 thoughts on “North Carolina Legislators Move Against Renewable Energy

  1. Ok, which utility lobbist cut a check to whose re-election committee member. Kind of visible from this side of fence.

  2. Just look at the sponsors of this article: Hess, ConEdison and Constellation and you will know which utility cut a check to who’s re-election campaign. Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, needs to be voted out of office.

    A similar thing has happened in South Carolina, the house has voted to eliminate LEED certification from the Energy Independence and Sustainable Construction Act of 2007.

    We can’t let fossil fuel companies and utilities weaken environmental regulations.

  3. 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.

    This is confusing. Please tell me Mr. Hager, what do you think the taxpayer is subsidizing on their electricity invoice right now? The generation of electricity.

  4. Dan – I’m confused about your comment: “look at the sponsors of this article.” Are you saying certain energy companies sponsored the NC bill? Or are you saying these energy companies influence the articles on Energy Manager Today? I’m not sure who’s behind the NC bill, and would love to learn more. As far as Energy Manager Today – our articles are editorially independent.

  5. I have been following the introduction of NC HB 298 by Rep Mike Hager and Rep Jeff Collins. My understanding is Mike Hager is tied up with the American Legislative Exchange Council (AKA Koch Bros). The Koch Brothers are losing money and want to continue with their polluting practices. I am not sure I understand how anyone can support their agenda. Anyway, from what read, the utilities have been publically staying neutral.

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