NC Power Politics

In North Carolina  there is a lot going on in terms of bills and expiration dates and extensions for bills that affect the future of renewable energy and energy efficiency. At least in the short term. Most obviously is the Renewable Energy Tax Credit (REITC) which is set to expire this year.  There is a new bill to extend it that is sponsored by several Republicans and supported by Senator Terry Van Duyn Democratic Whip from Buncombe County.

“Introduced today as Senate Bill 447, the legislation proposes renewing the REITC law, which is currently set to expire at the end of December. Specifically, the bill extends current REITC provisions for technologies including geothermal heating, anaerobic digestion, wind, combined heat and power, small scale solar and biomass for five years, with a two year extension proposed for large solar PV (projects defined as greater than 1 MW). “

  And-“The North Carolina Senate Bill 447 is also a testament to the REITC’s positive impacts on state and local governments, particularly in rural areas of the state. In fact, over $1.9 billion has been invested in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties alone. REITC spurred investments are delivering a strong return to these communities, with a reported $1.54 in state or local government revenue generated for each $1 of incentive since 2007. Only taxpayers and corporations with NC tax liability qualify for this credit, keeping renewable energy investment and jobs within the state.”  NCSEA-

Another bill popular with both parties,it seems, is a new measure that would allow for third party purchase of power. This would basically allow people to purchase power from third party providers without having to go through  the Duke. This is House Bill 245, The Energy Freedom Act. This legislation would allow for entities such as a University to enter third-party power purchase agreements with solar companies without having to go through the utility as a middle man which would lower the cost of these projects.Representative John Szoka (R-Cumberland) introduced this as House Bill 245. This would allow companies to offer different financing options and open up a different avenue to install more renewable energy. Companies are offering this option in states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Arizona. John Adger D Buncombe and Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson)are co sponsors.

The N.C. bill has support from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cargill, Target Corp. and North Carolina-based Lowe’s Cos., Family Dollar Stores Inc. and VF Corp.. Clearly not the usual environmental crusaders. There is money being made and popular support from a wide range of interests.

“There is a long history in North Carolina of electricity customers like the U.S. military, the [University of North Carolina] system, data centers and retail employers asking for more access to renewable energy,” according to a statement released by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).

“This bill allows a free market financing option that is only prohibited in five states; and given the value clean energy continues to bring to our state, it doesn’t make sense that North Carolina remain one of them,” the group said. 

A third bill  that I have herd, though only herd, is being discussed with the state legislators is the PACE financing bill . This has  been on hold and needs further action by the state government to be inacted. It is uniquely positioned to help finance energy efficiency upgrades to both residential and commercial property. It seems to me that Energy Efficiency is often the lowest cost option for improving carbon intensity of our economic system and this is one bill that would include it.

” Property assessed clean energy (PACE) is a means of financing energy efficiency upgrades or renewable energy installations for buildings. Examples of upgrades range from adding more attic insulation to installing rooftop solar panels. In areas with PACE legislation in place municipal governments offer a specific bond to investors and then loan the money to consumers and businesses to put towards an energy retrofit. The loans are repaid over the assigned term (typically 15 or 20 years) via an annual assessment on their property tax bill. PACE bonds can be issued by municipal financing districts or finance companies and the proceeds can be used to retrofit both commercial and residential properties. One of the most notable characteristics of PACE programs is that the loan is attached to the property rather than an individual.[1][2][3][4]”

   I think all of these would help North Carolina keep and build on its Renewable Energy production and Green Building approach to improving our buildings.  We are fortunate to have both NCSEA ( ) and NC Building Performance Association ( )tracking and advocating for the improvements in our state government and utilities that promote a more efficient and sustainable economy. 

Boone Guyton