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Solar powerWill lawmakers bust North Carolina’s clean energy boom?

As has been reported recently by N.C. Policy Watch and other media outlets, some powerful North Carolina politicians and interest groups appear to have it in for solar power and other forms of sustainable energy.Recently, they helped advance legislation in both the House and the Senate that would freeze North Carolina’s “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard” (or “REPS”) – a law that requires a growing percentage of the state’s electricity load to be provided by renewable sources. Current law places the REPS requirement at 6%, but it is scheduled to grow to 10% in 2018 and 12.5% in 2021. Together with some other provisions, REPS is a big part of the reason North Carolina has one of the nation’s fastest growing solar energy industries. Unfortunately, all of this could change quickly if the “freeze” legislation continues to move forward.

Please join us as we explore this timely and critical issue with Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).

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Ivan has led the NCSEA since 2006 and helped make it a formidable force for advancing knowledge in this vitally important field. Under Ivan’s leadership, NCSEA convenes and advocates for a clean energy path that would result in net savings for all North Carolina ratepayers, maintain a financially stable and reliable utility, and ensure a globally and regionally competitive energy industry that benefits all of North Carolina.

When: Thursday, June 4, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

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Space is limited – preregistration required.

Cost: $10, admission includes a box lunch.

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Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Solar powerThe good people at Environment North Carolina have released a new report on the state of solar power (“Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013″) and the news is both good and bad for North Carolina.

First, the good — North Carolina is in the Top 10. As the Environment NC folks note:

North Carolina’s solar capacity more than doubled in in 2014, bringing the total capacity to 557 megawatts. Growth in the number of large scale “solar farms” built across the state is mostly responsible for the increase. “Solar energy is emerging as a go-to energy option here in North Carolina which exciting,” said Dave Rogers, field director with Environment North Carolina.

Now the bad news: The state’s current solar capacity represents just a small fragment of what’s possible and North Carolina public officials could be doing a heck of a lot more to help — especially with respect to residential installation. To this end, the report touts several policies already at work in other leading solar states that would help, but that are, unfortunately, under constant assault from big fossil fuel interests and the conservative advocacy groups they help fund: Read More

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Greenpeace investigator Connor Gibson has a post worth checking out at the Greenpeace blog, The Witness . It’s about Duke Energy’s amazingly two-faced stance on North Carolina’s renewable energy law. As Gibson reports:

“Corporate polluters are taking aim this year at states with renewable energy laws, starting with an attack on North Carolina’s clean energy economy by a corporate front group known as ALEC with support from Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries.

North Carolina state Representative Mike Hager says he is confident that he has the votes needed to weaken or undo his state’s clean energy requirements during his second term. Read More

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Economist Dean Baker takes confused New York Times columnist David Brooks to the woodshed this morning for his partisan and inaccurate attack on clean energy and global warming.

Brooks tries to attack the Obama administration for its investments in green energy and then, as “evidence” that the investments have “failed,” states that there’s an oversupply of solar panels and that their price has fallen dramatically.

But, as Baker notes, that was one of the main objectives!

“Wow, what a disaster! Prices of solar panels have fallen by three quarters in 4 years. Those people in the Obama administration must feel really stupid. They thought their clean energy program would make alternative energy competitive, but look now, prices of solar panels fell by 75 percent in four years. Read More