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Updated: NC House OKs Freezing Renewable Energy Demands on Utilities

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Updated at 11:30 pm Wednesday

An effort to freeze the percentage of retail electricity sales North Carolina utilities must create through renewable sources and efficiency efforts has passed the state House.

Lawmakers in the House gave final approval Wednesday to their version of the annual "regulatory reform" bill, which also includes a provision conservation groups argue will discourage solar project construction.

The measure sets the retail sales percentage at 6 percent. A 2007 law has it growing to as high as 12.5 percent.

The regulatory bill also limits the amount utilities can add on to customer bills for buying alternative energy at $12 per year. The 2007 law created a $34 cap.

Supporters of changes say the state and electric customers should no longer subsidize alternative energy producers.

The bill now goes to the Senate.  (Associated Press)

Original Post

The North Carolina House could give final approval to a bill that would weaken the state's renewable energy requirements on Wednesday.  The bill was on the calendar Tuesday but was not acted on.  Representative Chuck McGrady of Henderson County informed WCQS via Twitter the bill needed more work and that "the House voting machine is being fixed."  House bill 760 is a wide-ranging regulatory reform bill.  An amendment added by Representatives Charles Jeter and Mike Hager would freeze a law that requires utilities to get a certain amount of their power from renewable sources like wind and solar.  The 2007 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard was already requiring utilities like Duke Energy to get 6 percent of their power from renewables.  That's where it would be capped if the House bill becomes law.  Otherwise, utilities would need to get 10 percent by 2018, and 12.5 percent by 2021.  Representative Hager is a former Duke Energy employee who's tried multiple times to eliminate the renewable energy standards.  Opponents of the standards often claim it is costing consumers more.  Supporters say they're the reason the state has become a leader in solar energy production.  If it passes the House, it would then go to the Senate. 

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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