North Carolina’s Complicated Road to Renewables

As coal ash continues to plague communities across North Carolina, the state’s legislature is debating whether to invest in or put a freeze on renewable energy. The Energy Freedom Act, introduced by House Republicans, would allow third party solar sales in the state and has the potential to increase investments in solar energy. The bill has bipartisan support, as well as the backing of environmental groups and the military.

Another bill currently under consideration would extend North Carolina’s renewable energy tax credit, which has spurred residential and commercial investments in solar since its adoption in 1999. Despite the proven success of the tax credits, many N.C. legislators oppose renewing them.

Another bill, which was controversially moved through House committee, would roll back the 2007 requirement that North Carolina generate 12.5% of its power from renewable sources and energy efficiency to just 6%, the amount already achieved. Tech giants Google, Apple, and Facebook, all of which have North Carolina facilities, wrote a letter opposing the freeze as well as a provision in the bill that they say could also halt renewable energy investments. — Sarah Kellogg

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