House Bill 298, the “Affordable and Reliable Energy Act,” will be discussed this morning in the House Commerce Committee. I think this is a shame if it passes. The state has seen substantial job growth in alternative energy, and the 12.5% goal put upon the energy providers has spawned investment in the development of solar technologies.
I googled the bill this morning and the search results included WRAL’s slated coverage of the discussion, news articles from such places as the Charlotte Observer, appeals from groups like the Sierra Club to rally against this, and then a rally cry to support HB 298 from the Crystal Coast Tea Party’s blog. Out of curiosity, I read through their argument, that tax payers are subsidizing these investments in renewable energy. This statement is quite plainly wrong.
The requirement for energy utilities to purchase 12.5% of their produced energy from renewable sources by 2018 (I’m not 100% sure of that date, but we are on target) puts the onus on those energy utilities. Of course, the utilities will transfer the cost to their customers, but Duke is seeking clearance for their rate hikes to help address foreseen capital costs, ie., construction of new energy production facilities. Renewable energy sources have helped delay those huge capital improvements that a new power plant presents, it is creating jobs, and it is not making a mess. One of the reasons energy companies support home and office energy audits and weatherizing is that it will stretch existing resources and delay that new power plant construction. As NC Policy Watch points out, the renewable energy requirement has been a win-win policy – and I haven’t even touched the need to steer away from fossil fuels.