Clean energy is clearly on the agenda for legislative action in 2019. Several good bills have been introduced — and one very bad one.
First, here’s the good news: a few modest but positive energy efficiency bills are moving.
House Bill 330 would require energy consumption in state buildings to be reduced 40% by 2025. It received initial committee approval after having a “lights out” amendment added to require interior lighting in state buildings to be turned off in most cases between midnight and 6 a.m.
House Bill 329 would allow electric car charging stations at locations like shopping centers and parking lots to charge for energy usage instead of time, thereby encouraging the establishment of more charging stations. At present, state utilities law bars such resale of electricity. That prohibition has the unintended side effect of making it harder for locations to afford to set up these charging stations. HB 329 also has received initial committee approval in the House.
Other positive bills include House Bill 331, which would allow small hydroelectric power facilities to contract for sale of their power to a utility under the same terms as other renewable sources. House Bill 513 would require establishing tiered electric rates to incentivize energy conservation, establish an energy efficiency bank for electric customers, and other steps. (HB 513 may receive more detailed attention in the CIB later.)
Now the bad news: The nemesis of wind energy, Sen. Harry Brown, is back with another anti-wind bill which would ban new wind energy projects in more than a dozen eastern North Carolina counties. For more, see the next previous article.
Promoting energy efficiency and clean energy development is an easily bipartisan priority, and smart Democrats and Republicans alike are signing on. Still, there is a shrinking minority of benighted opponents in the Senate who keep fighting to block clean energy progress. With your help, NCLCV will continue working to hold those leaders accountable, and to change who holds power until there is a pro-conservation majority. Click here to help us do that!
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