News Release from NC WARN
Durham, NC – According to recently leaked documents published by The Guardian, Duke Energy has let its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lapse in the past year. ALEC is a shadowy-corporate lobby group fronting as a charitable non-profit.
The key question for Duke Energy is whether it has walked away from ALEC’s energy agenda or just from overt association with the controversial group. Will in fact Duke Energy be pushing for a solar energy tax on individuals and businesses in North Carolina before the legislature and the Utilities Commission?
Major corporations have been leaving ALEC at a furious pace ever since the organization was embroiled in the Trayvon Martin controversy. ALEC had been pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country to benefit the NRA and gun manufacturers. Senator Ted Cruz urged ALEC delegates yesterday at the National ALEC convention to “Stand Your Ground” against the critics of their agenda.
Duke Energy was not one of the corporations that made a public exit from ALEC. In fact, in May 2012—just after the ALEC-Stand Your Ground controversy exploded—Duke hosted an ALEC quarterly meeting in Charlotte.
Since that time, ALEC has been trying to abolish Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards in states around the country, including North Carolina. Yet Duke has publicly favored North Carolina’s REPS – the new rules for green energy generation, like solar and wind.
But now, again according to The Guardian, ALEC wants states to penalize homeowners that install solar panels – by imposing a solar energy tax.
Duke Energy has a virtual electricity monopoly in North Carolina, supplying approximately 95% of the electricity. In stark contrast to its public relations campaigns, it has long sought to protect its centralized fossil fuel and nuclear power generation business model by opposing legislation which would open the state to real competition from solar and other distributed energy companies.
The question for Duke in the end is whether pulling out of ALEC is just a PR move or does it signal a substantive and positive change in direction in favor of solar energy and competition.