NC Solar & Wind Energy Appeal Remains
As renewable energy developments have changed over the years, North Carolina voters are showing more support of implementing these initiatives as an efficient and independent energy source. Recent polling has shown continued clear bipartisan support for solar and wind energy.
Conservatives for Clean Energy conducted a poll in April, 2016 of 800 North Carolina voters, randomly selected from across the state, with predetermined voter participation in past elections, to investigate this more clearly. The poll results detail views of citizens regarding renewable energy, energy investment, political support for various energy legislation, and more.
Respondents indicated varying levels of support for legislators who would be in favor of the following:
- 88% would support a legislator in favor of new energy efficiency financing
- 87% would support a legislator in favor of renewable energy
- 48% would support a legislator in favor of offshore drilling for gas and oil
- 42% would support a legislator in favor of new nuclear energy
- 30% would support a legislator in favor of fracking for natural gas
The results prove North Carolina voters are deeply interested in new energy efficiency opportunities that will save them money and benefit the North Carolina’s economy. The organization Young Conservatives for Clean Energy Reform expresses strong interest in “legislation that will give less strength to the energy companies and more strength to the individual citizens.” Voters want more options and the freedom to be able to stop relying on the grid.
Renewable Energy Legislative Support
Support from the North Carolina legislature over the past several years has encouraged the growth of the renewable energy industry, driving demand for more independent and sustainable power sources, despite the expiration of the renewable energy tax credit. The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association reported that the $6.3 billion invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency from 2007 to 2015 generated $12 billion in total economic impact. The state’s one-time Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard laid the foundation that made North Carolina’s solar industry the third-largest in the nation.
Despite this change in renewable energy legislation, there remains support for implementing clean energy policies in North Carolina both locally, statewide, and nationwide. Representing North Carolina citizens in Washington, D.C., Republican Senator Thom Tillis’ says, “We must pursue an all-of-the-above energy approach that is economically sound and helps put America on a path to energy independence.”
Additionally, from the House side, Representative George Holding is also concerned with the economic impact and independence saying, “Our goal is to become energy independent. But, right now, the federal government is standing in the way of producing more domestic energy. Instead, Washington should be marching in the opposite direction – it should be encouraging more energy production right here at home. If we produce more energy gas prices will fall, we will become less reliant on energy sources from hostile nations, and that will boost almost every part of our economy by creating jobs.”
By implementing and investing in renewable energy technologies, North Carolina has added more than 25,000 jobs and encouraged billions of dollars in investment in the state.
Balancing the Renewable Energy Consumer Sales
In order to reduce corporate restriction and provide more access to customers, some feel the state should adopt laws that would allow solar and other renewable-energy developers to sell power directly to customers, instead of the state’s current requirement that it be sold to utilities for resale. These “third-party sales” would give North Carolina customers a choice in how they power their homes in businesses, rather than being forced to purchase their power from the sole utility provider in their region.
Like Holding and Tillis, N.C. Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) also has an interest in energy independence and efficiency. As an advocate for free markets and renewable energy, Szoka believes consumers should be able to choose how their energy is provided and the state should be focused on reducing energy costs. He says allowing government entities and nonprofits to buy directly from developers would allow them to purchase power for less than what they currently pay their utilities, saving taxpayer dollars.
If we let the free market win, rather than restrict it, it will encourage consumer choice and reduce consumer costs. Sounds like a win for the developers and the taxpayers of North Carolina.
Repurposed Source: Conservatives are Embracing Clean Energy – http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article78892952.html