Latest posts by Taylor Smith (see all)
- Heartland Joins Coalition Opposing Federal Gas Tax Hike - January 28, 2015
- Reject the E15 Mandate - December 11, 2014
- Reducing Ohio’s Renewable-Power Mandate is Progress, Not Regression - November 2, 2014
The North Carolina House Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets narrowly passed a bill Wednesday that would slowly reduce and ultimately end the state’s renewable portfolio standard. A law currently adopted in 29 states and the District of Columbia that requires utilities to obtain a specified percentage of their power from renewable sources by a certain date.
Below are the results of the vote, which passed 11-10:
Hugh Blackwell (R)
Robert Brawley (R)
Mark Brody (R)
Rick Caitlin (R)
Jeff Collins (R)
Mike Hager (R)
Bryan Holloway (R)
Chris Millis (R)
Dennis Riddell (R)
Jacqueline Schaffer (R)
Mike Stone (R)
Becky Carney (D)
Carla Cunningham (D)
Elmer Floyd (D)
Susi Hamilton (D)
Edward Hanes (D)
Rodney Moore (D)
Tom Murry (R)
Ruth Samuelson (R)
Evelyn Terry (D)
Michael Wray (D)
Did Not Vote
Jason Saine (R) [Chair]
During the testimony, the wind and solar lobby each took separate turns touting the number of “green” jobs they’ve created. Until a representative from the Civitas Institute rightfully pointed out the opportunity cost that rising energy costs have on the state economy, and called into question what total economic value the “green jobs” brought compared to the jobs that would have been created with greater energy affordability.
Representatives from the solar industry were also enthusiastic about mentioning how fast the price of solar has fallen. This is true, but ultimately a red herring. By 2016, the U.S. EIA projects the levelized cost of electricity using solar photovoltaic technology will still cost 234% more than using the most affordable source, so it’s not going to be competitive on its own anytime soon.
Furthermore, while solar is improving, other renewables are not, despite them having all the same advantages solar has.
As the Raleigh News & Observer – a supporter of the mandate themselves – recently reported:
Meanwhile, electricity generated by wind as well as poultry and swine waste have made almost no progress here despite being eligible for the same subsidies that are available for solar power. Those renewables continue to face significant economic and technological obstacles.
So even with guaranteed business and a regulatory fence to protect from competition, most renewables are still having trouble competing with themselves.
The bill now moves onto the Environment Committee, where one of the two republicans who voted against the measure, Ruth Samuelson, is Vice Chairman.
It’ll be interesting to watch if anyone points out the damage renewable power has done to wildlife, or the additional air pollutants renewable power has caused by misusing fossil fuel generators as backup sources.