For the second time in recent weeks, voters across North Carolina’s political spectrum have signaled overwhelming support for solar power and the right to competition instead of remaining captive to Duke Energy’s monopoly.
The good news: N.C. House Bill 245, dubbed the Energy Freedom Act, which was unveiled last week by a bipartisan cast of co-sponsors. Solar advocates call it “the no-money-down solar bill.” Said an exuberant Caroline Hansley, a field organizer for Greenpeace: “It’s a game-changer!”
North Carolina House Bill 245, the Energy Freedom Act, would open up North Carolina electricity markets to third party (“no money down”) sales of electricity, but Duke Energy is lobbying furiously to protect its monopoly control over North Carolina.
Video: NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren explains why North Carolina is a pivotal state for the future of climate change.
N.C. Rep. John Szoka made good Monday on a recent promise to submit a bill allowing renewable-energy developers to sell power directly to customers in North Carolina, bypassing the state’s utilities.
While he was still drafting the “Energy Freedom Act,” Szoka said he expected the legislation would be limited to sales to government offices, not-for profit organizations and military bases. His thinking was that it would save taxpayers and nonprofits money and could be a step toward more general “third-party sales” from renewable-energy project owners to customers.
The utility and fossil-fuel industries continue to spread a crude canard against the growing popularity of rooftop solar across America. The lie goes something like this: Households and business that install photovoltaic panels are doing so at the expense of other electricity ratepayers because they are “subsidized” by those that don’t have solar panels.
If energy activist Jim Warren has anything to say about it, solar panels one day will grace the rooftops of every suitable house, store, office and factory statewide.
But he and his Solarize NC program are taking it a few cities at a time, and the Greensboro area is next on their agenda.
A number of U.S. utilities have been trying to stop the growth of rooftop solar electricity by claiming it hurts low- and fixed-income customers and people of color. Such solar-bashing has been thoroughly discredited, but now Duke Energy lobbyists and other hired guns are spreading it among African-American community leaders and among legislative Democrats.
NC WARN today begins an effort to expose this cynical corporate effort to divide people, including circulation of a new Issue Brief to elected officials, the news media and community leaders.
In Duke Energy’s 15 year plan to provide power to North Carolina…
If the [NC Utilities] Commission approves Duke’s latest 15-year plan, filed last October, it approves a status quo threatening to bankrupt North Carolina’s economy and continue polluting our air and water.
NC WARN proposes an alternative, responsible energy plan that would phase out all existing coal-burning power plants and eliminate the need for new power plants, replacing them with energy efficiency, solar energy, combined heat and power (CHP), and other forms of distributed generation, along with strategic purchases from other utilities in the Southeast.
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