The North Carolina Legislature is considering sabotaging success in one of the best job producing, home grown sectors of our economy- clean energy. Usually I would reserve political talk for a beer bash or a post dinner venting session with a friend. But this is an exceptional occasion. North Carolina has become a leader in clean energy jobs, increased efficiency for buildings and renewable energy installations. The solar energy sector added over 21 thousand jobs during the recession. “Solar is the fastest growing sector in N.C. by far,” said Matt Raker of Advantage West, the economic development agency in western N.C.. In 2012 NC was 5th in the nation in solar installations. ( http://bit.ly/WWn3fD )A lot of the credit goes to our State tax credit for renewable installations and the Renewable Energy Portfolio that directs our Utililities to produce 12.5% of the energy they sell from renewable sources by 2025. So basically with the policies we have in place we are producing increasing amounts of clean energy and the jobs that go along with that.
What’s not to like? We are replacing coal and oil imported to North Carolina with locally available, clean, unlimited and free solar and wind and locally manufactured biodiesel. The prices of renewable energy fuels are free and the cost of fossil fuels is trending up even as the US produces more of its own. Installation costs for producing solar electricity is falling in cost and solar power is already competitive without subsidies in Italy, Spain and Australia. (http://onforb.es/161Awo1 )
The environmental costs of fossil fuels are high and rising. Climate change is a cost we can no longer ignore.
The NC Senate bill 365 ( http://bit.ly/YvLMXx ) , ironically named Affordable and Reliable Energy Act, and the House version 298 ( http://bit.ly/Yl0LGo ) have been introduced to eliminate the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. This would be a major step back for North Carolina, for jobs, for Energy security and for the environment. NCSEA has a good article with a link to find your NC political representatives to let them know what you think (http://bit.ly/YvMlAA
North Carolina has benefited from our policies to encourage clean energy with jobs, lower utilities cost and environmental benefits. Repealing good policy is bad politics.
For a good summary of the performance of these strategies go to http://energync.org/assets/files/Summary%20Findings(1).pdf