Hasty vote advances Senate bill on renewables rollback

Posted May 1, 2013

— Amid protests from some members seeking a show of hands for a vote, Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairman Bill Rabon quickly adjourned a Wednesday meeting after declaring that a bill to freeze and repeal the state's renewable energy standards had enough support to advance.

A voice vote on Senate Bill 365 was close, but Rabon determined that backers were in the majority, talking over repeated requests from several committee members for a more definitive vote. The bill now heads to the Senate Commerce Committee.

North Carolina in 2007 became the first state in the Southeast to adopt a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, requiring utility companies to acquire a growing percentage of their power from renewable sources. Senate Bill 365 would eliminate subsidies and set-asides for renewable energy producers by 2023.

Sponsor Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, said many technological advances were promised in 2007 if lawmakers helped get the green-energy industry off the ground. Those advances should be in place over the next decade, he said, making energy cheap to produce and the subsidies unnecessary.

"Economic development follows low-cost energy," Brock said, adding that forcing utilities to purchase renewable energy raises electricity costs for businesses and consumers. "When you have higher energy costs in North Carolina, it's tough to get jobs going because it puts an undue burden on our companies."

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, said the renewables industry has grown in North Carolina despite the sluggish economy in recent years because of the state support, and it offers more growth opportunities in the future if lawmakers would leave it alone.

"The anti-small-business hostility of this legislation is really amazing," Stein said. "Investors will not play (in North Carolina) if we keep playing these games."

Hog farmers who have invested in waste-to-energy production and representatives of energy industries spoke out against the bill, saying repealing the subsidies would cost them money and jobs.

Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, said repealing the standards is bad public policy.

"One thing we've begun to do is back away and back away and renege on obligations we've made," McKissick said. "This is just another quantum step backward."

But Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said subsidies can't go on forever.

"Sooner or later, you've got to put an end point to this," Brown said. "How long do you subsidize?"

A companion bill in the House failed in committee last week. Sponsor Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, planned to bring it up for another hearing Wednesday, but the House Public Utilities and Energy Committee never addressed it.


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  • FlagWavingFascistCrank May 2, 2013

    Progress? WE don't need no steenkin' PROGRESS!

    If the GOP had their way back in 1900, Henry Ford would have been jailed for his "radical" views of paying the working man a wage big enough so he could actually afford to BUY things, and we'd be cruising the outer beltline dirtpath in horse-drawn wagons.

    Welcome to a new century.......the 18th.

  • Chemist18 May 2, 2013


    I never said I'm a liberal. I didn't give any answers either, other than some from a freshman chemistry book. I did however accuse conservatives (not all just those elected to Raleigh and Washingtone) of being short-sighted.

    What do you call it when you go against what you believe just because someone else believes the same thing and you don't want to be seen agreeing with them?

  • yankee1 May 2, 2013

    I guess if you're a conservative you can ask your mirror.... Chemist18

    And I guess if you're a liberal, the only answer that has possibilities is yours. Funny thing is, every city and every country that lives in the liberal world fails. They don't have enough food to feed their people, can't stop killing each other and end up murdering those that don't agree with them. We have been playing the renewables game for decades. So now we have a few windmills, solar panels and better batteries. None of these ideas survive without Government subsidies and 90% of the companies fail. If any of you had the answer, I assume we would be well on our way to fixing the problem by now. Good luck!

  • yankee1 May 2, 2013

    I see the kool-aid drinkers are out in force this morning. It's really a shame that none of us will be alive to see the reality of either theory. May be, might be, the theory is! That's always been a solid reason for changing economic structure, taxing people to death and turning society upside down. Tolstoy- now that's impressive! Congratulations. Your attempts at humor are cool too! Let me know when scientists and environmentalists can control hurricanes and tornados, rainfall and snowstorms. Until that time everything is a guess formulated based on whatever numbers someone decides to put in their computer and Mother Nature always wins! If the world keeps spewing the hatred it does now, none of it will matter because we will destroy each other with bombs and rockets. You make your choices and I'll make mine. Enjoy!

  • Chemist18 May 2, 2013

    Okay. When you burn a hydrocarbon (like ethanol), with complete combustion you get water + carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide helps keep energy "inside" our atmosphere. That is not up for debate. Humans, particularly Americans have added substantial amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. Yes the climate has changed throughout the history of our planet having an atmosphere. Are we causing global warming? Ask your grandchildren. I guess if you're a conservative you can ask your mirror.

    When you burn coal you get other stuff that isn't as easy to dismiss as CO2, like sulfer dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, etc. Just one coal plants in NC burns between 150 and 250 train car loads of coal (15 to 25,000 tons) per DAY!

    Once you build a solar cell it ceases causing pollution, reduces pollution from other sources, and saves us all money by not consuming coal or natural gas.

    If you want to save money today, burn coal. If you want to save money forever, do something different.

  • Krimson May 2, 2013

    Two Farmers are standing in a field arguing over whether or not the big brown pile on the ground is cow manure or horse manure. Yankee1 runs up with a fork, declares it Chess Pie, and has his lunch.

    Scientists can disagree about what their data suggests - that is part of the scientific process. But no amount of rejecting the science will make a very good pie...

  • miseem May 2, 2013

    Can you explain to me what created climate change back before carbon fuels, factories and large populations?

    Still waiting!

    Several theories, inlcuding large asteroids hitting the earth (most likely causing a drop in temperatures) However, the big distinction between past climate changes and now (excluding the asteroid collision) is that they occurred over thousands of years, not decades. And there were not hundreds of millions of people inhabiting areas that may be devastated by global warming. The Outer Banks will be the Outer Shoals, Manhattan will be half it's current size (or mostly below sea level if they pull off a New Orleans catastrophe in waiting), not to mention Bangladesh (of course, their far sighted reduction in business and building regulations may solve part of the population problem before the flooding does). Even if this is a "natural" cycle, should we not be preparing for the effects of it?

  • NC1st May 2, 2013

    Yankee1, you will always be waiting, even when you are underwater. You fit the quote below perfectly. Thanks for your entertainment.

    The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him. – Tolstoy

  • hp277 May 2, 2013

    This is insane - why do Republicans hate job creators like Google so much?

    The current program has brought thousands of jobs to NC, including many to rural areas of the state. Killing the program will only kill that momentum.

  • yankee1 May 2, 2013

    Meanwhile you bore me with the predictable ranting....sisu

    Funny how stating opposing positions to a liberal is always classified as ranting.

    From last night:

    Can you explain to me what created climate change back before carbon fuels, factories and large populations?

    Still waiting!