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The Right and the ridiculous renewables debate

A important round in the battle over the state’s energy future comes today in the House Commerce Committee. Lawmakers will be debating the absurdly named Affordable and Reliable Energy Act [1] which would repeal the state’s modest renewable energy standard for utility companies that was passed in 2007.

Americans for the Prosperous and the Lockers are leading the charge in North Carolina to repeal the common sense requirement that the companies buy a small percentage of their power from wind or solar or other renewable resources.  Quite a radical notion indeed.

Nationally the repeal push is part of the ALEC agenda and lately Grover “shrink government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” Norquist has weighed in to support the North Carolina repeal efforts.

What Norquist and the rest of Right Wing Avenue don’t tell you that is that there are more than 1,100 clean energy companies in North Carolina and the renewable energy industry created more than 21,000 jobs in the last five years. The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association has that compelling story [2]

And contrary to all the propaganda flying out from the Koch/Pope world, there is NO evidence that renewable standards have increased rates for consumers in North Carolina or any of the other 28 states that have adopted the standards.

Here is a good summary [3] from the National Resource Defense Council of the importance of the standards and the nationally orchestrated attacks from the Koch empire.

The whole debate is rather absurd. We can choose to create jobs and invest in cleaner energy or ignore the science and the future and the jobs and keeping burying our heads in the sand—and oil.

The public gets it—even 75 percent of Republicans support [4] the increased use of renewable energy resources.  We’ll know soon if lawmakers are listening to the people they represent or the  big money folks funding their campaigns and bankrolling the right-wing propaganda outfits.