North Carolina Renewable Energy Standards Under Fire In State Legislature

May 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

From EarthTechling’s Pete Danko:

How badly do some people want to kill even a mild form of support for renewable energy in North Carolina? Badly enough that they’re willing to risk cheating on legislative votes.

It’s really an extraordinary thing to see: The North Carolina Senate Finance Committee was voting last week on a bill that would gut the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The dude with the gavel, Senator Bill Rabon, calls for a voice vote. The “no” votes appear to have it, or at the very least it’s close. But Rabon bangs his gavel and says the motion carries and by the way the hearing is adjourned. Watch it here (the “vote” takes place around the 1:50 mark):

No roll call. No show of hands. No real counting of votes.

So despite an earlier win in a North Carolina House committee, which failed to pass an anti-RPS bill, the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) still isn’t safe in this legislative session.

But solar advocates said the hearing – despite the shady way it ended – actually gave them hope.

“What was most notable about the Committee meeting was not the gamesmanship that allowed the bill to live for another day, but the bipartisan nature of the support expressed for preserving the REPS,” Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, said in a statement. “It is also telling that North Carolina citizens, businesses, and investors continue to speak out in support of the REPS, as they have each time repeal has been debated at every step along the way.”

The North Carolina RPS requires utilities to source 3 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewables this year, rising gradually to 12.5 percent by 2021, a modest amount compared to, say, California, where investor-owned utilities are at 20 percent now, and must hit 33 percent by 2020.

Lacking much of a national policy on clean energy, renewable portfolio standards at the state level are a key tool in promoting development of solar, wind, bioenergy and other renewables. But opponents are waging a broad assault on the laws – which operate uniquely but in general terms require utilities to source a growing amount of renewable energy – in a number of states.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 2012 LCV Scorecard: Lowest Scores In The Senate

    The following 17 senators all scored under 10 in the League of Conservation Voters’ a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 National Environmental Scorecard/a.

    The senators’ scores are based on 14 votes on bills related to offshore drilling, Gulf restoration, oil subsidies, power plant air pollution and other environmental topics.

    While over a dozen senators received fewer than 10 points, 37 senators received over 90 points on LCV’s 100-point scale.

    (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • David Vitter (R-La.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Mike Lee (R-Utah)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson, File)

  • Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) [Retired Jan. 2013]

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

  • Dean Heller (R-Nev.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (AP Photo/Scott Sady)

  • Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Jim Demint (R-S.C.) [Resigned Jan. 2013]

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

  • Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

  • John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 7

    (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

  • Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 0

    (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 0

    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • John McCain (R-Ariz.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 0

    (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 0

    (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Dan Coats (R-Ind.)

    a href=”http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_Scorecard_2012.pdf”2012 Score/a (out of 100 points): 0

    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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