Thirteen Groups Release Recommendations for Renewable and Efficiency Measures
(March 7, 2007 – Raleigh, NC) Thirteen North Carolina organizations today issued recommendations that would help clean energy play a bigger role in meeting the state’s growing demand for electricity. The coalition of environmental, faith and health groups said renewable energy and efficiency is quicker, cheaper and healthier to use than other sources, such as coal and nuclear power, and can reliably meet the state’s rising electricity consumption. The report concludes that the state can meet 10% of future energy demand with efficiency and 10% with renewable energy. The recommendations are included in a report, “The Power to Choose: North Carolina’s Clean-Energy Future” (www.environmentaldefense.org/go/cleanenergync).
The report says most of the fuels used to generate electricity in North Carolina are purchased from out of state, draining $1.6 billion from the economy each year. Clean energy can keep more of those dollars in state, creating jobs and business opportunities. Nearly 40,000 jobs could be created by pursuing an aggressive set of policies to reduce global warming pollution, making the renewable energy and efficiency sector larger than several traditional sectors, including hog farming, tobacco and paper manufacturing.
The coalition recommends:
- Securing at least 20% of the state’s energy from renewables and efficiency by 2020.
- Creating a public benefits fund to promote efficiency programs.
- Implementing programs to promote high-performance buildings, particularly in the public sector.
- Simplifying the rate structure for utilities to align incentives with increased efficiency.
“Losing a billion dollars from our economy each year is staggering. The quickest and most cost-effective thing for North Carolina to do is to create a renewable energy and efficiency standard and keep more of those dollars inside our state lines,” said Michael Shore, senior air policy analyst with Environmental Defense. “More than 20 states already have such standards. Jobs, economic growth and a clean energy future are at hand. Let’s not let this opportunity slip through our fingers.”
“North Carolina’s regulations and laws have failed to recognize the real value of renewable energy and efficiency to our economy,” said Ivan Urlaub, executive and policy director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “It’s time for the state to put renewables and efficiency at the top of the energy list, instead of the bottom.”
Organizations endorsing the report are Environmental Defense, NC Sustainable Energy Association, American Lung Association of North Carolina, Carolinas Clean Air Coalition, Conservation Council of North Carolina, Environment North Carolina, NC Conservation Network, NC Council of Churches, NC Sierra Club, NC Waste Awareness Reduction Network, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Students United for a Responsible Global Environment.