December 16, 2014

Roll Back Renewable Energy Mandate in N.C.

Senate Bill 3 poses risks to the financial security of North Carolinians. The renewable portfolio standard, requiring utilities to provide 7.5 percent of energy from "renewable sources," has disadvantaged millions of consumers. Wind, solar, biomass and wood are significantly more expensive than fossil fuels, like coal or natural gas. Without subsidies, coal and natural gas would be the choice of utility companies, rather than energy three to four times more expensive.

Senate Bill 3 does not count hydropower even though it is renewable and nonpolluting. This suggests that the real goal of the law is not to encourage renewable energy but to subsidize solar and wind power. The "energy efficiency" standard has nothing to do with economic efficiency — getting more for less — Senate Bill 3 refers to using less energy, without regard to people's preferences or needs.

The increased energy costs due to the mandate are being passed to the consumer. Higher electricity costs hurt the economy, lower GDP, and create fewer jobs. This mandate only imposes costs on electricity customers and the economy with zero offsetting benefits. North Carolinians should urge the General Assembly to repeal the costly mandate in 2015, at the very least.

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