Will North Carolina Nix Its Renewable Energy Mandate?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30713600@N00/4140983038/">twicepix</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


In North Carolina, legislators are working to undo the progress their state has made on renewable energy.

Back in 2007, it was the first southern state to pass a renewable energy mandate. The law requires investor-owned utilities to draw 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021. But House bill 298, introduced on Wednesday, would end that mandate altogether.

Let’s just savor, for a minute, this nugget about the bill’s sponsor, from the Charlotte Observer:

The bill’s leading sponsor, Republican Rep. Mike Hager, is a former Duke Energy engineer who has repeatedly said that energy sources for generating electricity should be chosen on a least-cost basis rather than being selected by government policy. The leading nonrenewable options are natural gas, coal and nuclear.

“I don’t think you should be subsidizing businesses into longevity,” Hager said. “I’ve had one or two tell me they’ll never get off subsidies. I’ll pay for them, my children will pay for them and my grandchildren will pay for them.”

Duke Energy, may I remind you, is the largest utility in the country, one that has received millions and millions in subsidies for fossil fuels over the years.

Greenpeace’s Connor Gibson points out that Hager’s bill resembles the “Electricity Freedom Act,” a piece of model legislation rolling back renewable energy mandates promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the well-known public policy group uniting conservative lawmakers and corporate interests. Yes, Hager has a history of involvement with the organization.

Under its current law, the state has added clean energy-related jobs. Environmental Entrepreneurs, a program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, released a report recently finding that North Carolina announced more new clean energy and transportation projects than any other state in 2012. NRDC reports these projects were set to create 10,867 new jobs—more than in anywhere else besides California.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate