NC Capitol

NC Capitol

Sponsor seeks to revive bid to end renewable energy subsidies

Posted April 30, 2013 12:56 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2013 4:25 p.m. EDT

— Days after his party leadership shot down his proposal to freeze and repeal the state's renewable energy standards, Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, is making a second run at moving the bill to the House floor.

House Bill 298 was voted down in the House Committee on Public Utilities and Energy, which Hager chairs, last Wednesday. Powerful Republican Reps. Tim Moore, Ruth Samuelson, Nelson Dollar and others joining Democrats in opposing the measure.

Hager has put the bill back on the calendar for Wednesday for reconsideration.

"It's not dead," he said Tuesday, adding that it's unlikely a vote would be held Wednesday.

The legislation would end the set-asides and subsidies for solar energy, wind energy and other renewables that lawmakers created in 2007. North Carolina was 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.

Hager argues that the renewables requirement costs consumers money, dismissing opponents' contention that it has spawned a growing green-energy industry in North Carolina.

"If the only way a business can move forward is with a subsidy, then maybe we need to rethink the business," the former Duke Energy employee told the committee last week.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider a companion bill on Wednesday.