Energy and the Environment

Pricey Harrison works to protect the environment in North Carolina

North Carolina has become a regional and national leader in pursuing a more sustainable energy landscape and was just ranked 8th in the US for energy related economic opportunities by the Center for American Progress as a result of recent policy initiatives. These policies include being the only state in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS), requiring state government buildings be energy and water efficient, expanding performance contracting so that utilities savings can be used to finance energy efficiency retrofits (energy efficiency is the cheapest and most available fuel), allowing the UNC System to retain energy savings, expanding tax credits for renewable energy devices, and establishing the Biofuels Center. There is more to be done, including clarifying our REPS; establishing a wind permitting structure to encourage the development of offshore wind; decoupling our utility rate structure to remove the disincentive to promote conservation; adopting a separate energy efficiency standard; adopting a greener building code for all construction; adopting friendlier net metering policies and removing other regulatory obstacles to alternative energy devices; and other options which the Energy Policy Council is currently studying. These policies create jobs and economic opportunities in our local communities as well as cost savings to the consumer and the taxpayer in addition to improving our environment through cleaner energy sources.