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While the General Assembly is currently focused on smoothing the road to drill for natural gas in North Carolina, a new report shows the economic value clean energy has brought to our state over the past five years.

The report was prepared by Research Triangle Institute and LaCapra Associates.

Some of the key findings:

Clean energy programs created or retained over 21,000 jobs.

The clean energy industry and government incentives spurred $1.4 billion in project investments.

These projects contributed about $1.7 billion to the gross state product.

Clean energy and energy efficiency projects saved 8.2 million megawatt hours of energy.

For every $1 spent on renewable projects, $1.90 was generated for that investment. For energy efficiency projects, $1.67 was generated for that investment.

Finally, rate payers benefit from renewables and energy efficiency programs.  A typical NC residential customer saved $.50 per month last year and that is expected to only rise if our state continues to lead in this industry.

Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that the conservative Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were considering a strategy to repeal North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).  Our state has the only RES legislation in the south. This legislation requires utilities to  hold a portion of their energy portfolio in renewables.   This legislation and incentive programs are the reason for the healthiness of the renewable energy industry.  As the governor and legislature focus on job creation and economic development, this part of the energy sector now has a strong and proven track record and should be encouraged to grow.

 

 

 

 

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Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies has an excellent story this morning about yesterday’s through-the-looking-glass “science” lecture at the General Assembly by self-appointed climate expert John Droz.

As Sturgis reports:

His [Droz's] slideshow presentation, titled “The Assault on Science,” was a compilation of claims purporting to show that science is in danger from a hostile conspiracy involving the scientific elite, environmentalists, educators, and the media — but his own sources were rather unscientific, to say the least.

Among the publications Droz cited to make his case were Whistleblower, the monthly magazine companion of WorldNetDaily, a website that promotes conspiracy theories about topics such as President Obama’s citizenship; Quadrant, a conservative Australian magazine that was involved in a scandal over publishing fraudulent science; and the Institute for Creation Research, a Texas outfit that rejects evolution and promotes Biblical creationism and the notion that “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week.”

Perhaps the most important and disturbing part of Sturgis’ story, however, was this paragraph that appeared near the end: Read More

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After last night’s votes to slash unemployment benefits and deny Medicaid to people in need (and the follow-up votes that will take place today), you might have thought there would have already been enough wackiness for one week on Jones Street.

WRONG!

Actually, the fun is just beginning! Check out the following from the good people at the Sierra Club to see what’s on tap for tomorrow:

“John Droz, former real estate agent, fellow of the right-wing American Traditions Institute, and science advisor to NC-20 (the coastal group which backed notorious Sea Level Rise bill last year) will be addressing invited members of both chambers this Wednesday at 11:00 am in the auditorium at the General Assembly.   Read More

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There was a bit of a hubbub recently surrounding the announcement made by the new Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla, that he was altering the Department’s mission statement. Especially in light of Skvarla’s statements in a WRAL interview in which he implied that climate change is an open question, many observers took particular note of language in the new mission statement that refers to “diversity of opinion” on matters of science.

So how much of a change is this? One of the interesting aspects of the whole mission statement story was that no one seems to remember much about what was in the old one.

Yesterday, I called over to DENR and a friendly staffer promptly emailed me the one that had been associated with the Department’s 2009-2013 strategic plan. Click here to look at the brochure that I received.

As you can see, the old “mission statement” was much shorter. It simply stated that DENR’s mission was: Read More

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Rob YoungWestern Carolina University geologist and coastal expert Rob Young is featured in a pair of new public radio stories at NPR and WNYC that highlight some problems with the Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed by the House in recent days.

Young’s main criticism: Spending billions to rebuild damaged beach communities just like they were before the storm is extremely shortsighted and wasteful. He isn’t saying the communities don’t deserve assistance or that they shouldn’t be rebuilt, but he does say that merely trucking in vast quantities of sand to put things back just like they were is absurd.

Young also argues convincingly Read More