State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird writes to her constituents weekly. Here is an excerpt from her latest message.
A far-reaching environmental measure was passed several years ago. It was called the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) and required energy companies to purchase 7 to 14 percent of their energy from alternative sources by 2020. It has proved successful, providing a boost to our solar energy industry as well as preventing the need to build more coal or nuclear power plants.
This session, a bill was introduced that would have repealed this alternative energy requirements. In a victory in this grim legislative session, a House committee voted down the chair’s own bill to repeal the renewable energy requirement. Even Republicans joined to vote the bill down.
Interestingly, Duke and Progress Energy that have participated in the alternate energy production goals, and neither asked to have the requirement repealed. The bill was purely ideologically based on the idea that government shouldn’t force industry to meet such requirements. Solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the state. And while there are complaints that the solar industry is subsidized, the oil and gas industry is much more heavily subsidized.