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NCSEA Release / HB 298

Energy and Emerging Markets Subcommittee Moves Counter to Weight of Testimony and Data to Pass Flawed Substitute to Already Harmful REPS Repeal Bill

Narrow vote keeps North Carolina’s clean energy progress hanging in the balance

RALEIGH – The Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets today placed North Carolina’s clean energy progress and economic future in jeopardy when it passed Rep. Mike Hager’s amendment to House Bill 298. The bill passed in a narrow 11 to 10 vote that speaks more to the confusion surrounding the proposal than to its purported merits. The main purpose of the bill is to repeal North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). While a Proposed Committee Substitute offered by Rep. Hager altered some of details in the bill’s approach, the end result would still be the same, and that end result is categorically bad.

“This is simply the wrong move at the wrong time,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “No good ever comes when you pass laws based on a mistaken premise and the assumption underlying this bill that the REPS law raises electricity rates and costs jobs could not be further from the truth.”

A number of recent studies actually show that clean energy development is yielding impressive benefits for electricity customers, businesses and local communities across North Carolina while enjoying strong support among voters. According to one such study by RTI International and La Capra Associates, Inc., North Carolina consumers stand to realize more than $173 million in cost savings between 2007 and 2026 due to the state’s clean energy policies, including the REPS. The same study also showed that, instead of costing taxpayers, the state’s clean energy policies actually generate a net revenue of $113 million for the state. The total economic benefit of clean energy development in North Carolina from 2007-2012 boasted even more impressive numbers in the study, coming in at a healthy $1.7 billion.

Claims that the REPS is costing jobs are also spurious. The RTI / La Capra study found that North Carolina experienced a net gain in employment of 21,162 “job years” from 2007-2012 resulting from clean energy development. (A job year is one person working full-time for a year.) Statistical sleight of hand employed by proponents of the bill to discount the existence of these jobs does not alter the actual employment now benefiting real people across the state from our clean energy investments.

North Carolina now has a six year first mover advantage in the race to establish itself as a leader on clean energy in the southeast. That status brings with it investment, innovation, business opportunities, jobs and cost savings that will benefit people all across the state. This bill would undo that advantage and place our hard fought gains in jeopardy. This is a result we must avoid. We look forward to further debate and a more robust examination of the facts and data when the full Commerce and Job Development Committee takes up the bill.

About the Study

The NC Sustainable Energy Association commissioned the study by RTI International and La Capra Associates, Inc. as an independent and objective economic analysis focused on the impacts of clean energy policy in the state. Released on February 18, 2013, The Economic, Utility Portfolio, and Rate Impact of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, focused on key policy drivers and the economic and fiscal impacts of clean energy development, and the ratepayer impacts associated with this development. Source:

About the NC Sustainable Energy Association:

Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. NCSEA has been the “go-to” leader in shaping North Carolina's commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency, high performance building, smart grid and electric vehicle jobs and economic opportunities in communities all across our state. Learn more at