Companies Work to Defend and Expand Clean Energy in North Carolina
This week, companies and investors traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to defend the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, and to lend their support to a proposal to extend the state’s renewable energy investment tax credit.
Representatives from seven companies and investment groups—including BICEP members VF Corporation and New Belgium Brewing—gathered in Raleigh to meet with lawmakers in the General Assembly and representatives from Governor Pat McCrory’s office.
The businesses urged legislators to maintain North Carolina’s successful Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standards (REPS). North Carolina’s REPS, passed in 2007, requires the state’s utilities to derive 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable energy or energy efficiency investments by 2021. The REPS have worked well for North Carolina—creating jobs and investment throughout the state.
According to RTI International, North Carolina’s clean energy policies have helped generate more than $3.4 billion in investment via clean energy development between 2007 and 2014. In addition, the 2014 NC Clean Energy Industry census found there are approximately 23,000 (full-time equivalent) renewable energy and energy efficiency employees located across all regions of the state.
Despite these successes, there is an effort in the General Assembly (House Bill 332) to cap the state’s REPS at its current 6 percent. BICEP and INCR members expressed concerns that the proposed freeze would send the wrong market signal to the business community. Many companies are investing in North Carolina because of access to clean energy on grid. Earlier this summer, four N.C. BICEP members sent a letter to state lawmakers defending the standard, saying that a freeze would “stifle the growth of North Carolina’s clean energy sector and be a step in the wrong direction.”
Businesses also asked legislators to support proposed legislation to extend the state’s 35 percent renewable energy investment tax credit (REITC) for five additional years—allowing businesses to continue to invest in renewable energy projects in N.C. The REITC is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2015 and has been responsible for investment in renewable energy and key infrastructure throughout the state. Over $2.6 billion has been directly invested in renewable energy projects between 2007 and 2014, leading to an economic impact of over $4.7 billion.
Corporate adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency is on the rise with over 60 percent of the Fortune 100 setting clean energy goals. States with policies conducive to clean energy are able to attract investments and jobs—while reducing emissions and diversifying their energy mix. Hopefully North Carolina lawmakers will continue to support the REPS and extend the investment tax credit—making the state a leader in the Southeast.
Representatives from Novozymes North America, SAS, United Technologies Corporation, Trillium Asset Management, and Double Time Capital also participated in the meetings in Raleigh. A big thank you to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) for their help in organizing this event.