A conservative case for renewable energy options

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An op-ed in the Wilmington Star News makes the conservative case for renewable energy options, particularly the REPS law that has helped make NC a leader in renewable energy.

From Star News Online, 

Like about half of the states, North Carolina is a highly regulated, monopoly controlled electricity market. If market competition and consumer choice is a goal, why do some continually attack policies that introduce elements of competition? It makes no sense to stop an investment (or policy) that has positive returns.

Consider North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law.

The legislation states that our state’s utilities must derive an increasing percentage of their energy mix from renewable/clean resources and energy efficiency programs.

This policy is allowing market competition and choice. Repeal the REPS, and we'll go back to full utility monopoly control, wherein the monopoly is actually incentivized to use energy sources with the highest costs by a state-and-taxpayer-guaranteed return on investment.

Since 2008, North Carolina consumers have seen $162 million in savings due to the REPS law, plus nearly $3 billion has been invested in renewable energy projects across our state, including about two-thirds built in our most rural communities, which also results in new, much-needed property tax revenues for local governments. (Source: RTI/Scott Madden, 2015).

Under the REPS, our utilities will gradually increase their use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency programs to 12.5 percent of their energy mix by 2021 - however, the remaining 87.5 percent will continue to come from natural gas, coal and nuclear.

Our legislators do deserve thanks for maintaining the REPS law in the face of a massive, coordinated misinformation campaign this year. But, are opponents unaware of how energy actually works in North Carolina?

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is holding a “Free the Grid Tour” event in Wilmington today on the “power struggle” in North Carolina, inviting the community tofight for energy freedom.

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