The NC Senate approved Senate Bill 3, Renewable Energy/Baseload Provisions on second reading. This bill started out similar to House Bill 77, Promote Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, sponsored by Representatives Martin, Harrell, Justice, and Harrison (Guilford). After months of negotiations, the Senate bill was loaded up with provisions to get buy-in from a variety of interest groups, from Wal-mart to homebuilders to chemical companies, and especially the utilities. As a result, there are many troubling provisions in the bill, which hopefully will be fixed in the House version.
One bad provision relates to financing new nuclear and coal fired power plants. It would shift the risk from the investors to the rate payers. This fight was fought in the early 1980s, and the consumers prevailed, but not this time around in the Senate bill.
Another bad provision encourages energy production from hog farms that use outdated lagoon-and-sprayfield technologies. This will have the unintended consequence of prolonging the life of dirty hog-waste pools that do not meet environmental performance standards and threaten the health of citizens near them. The original bill helps hog farmers convert to better ways of disposing of waste products.
It is important that the NC House fix this bill and pass a renewable energy bill without provisions making it easier to build new coal and nuclear plants and with provisions to help get rid of lagoons filled with smelly hog excrement.
Read Sticking it to utility ratepayers
by Rick Martinez in the Raleigh N&R.
Send a message to members of the NC House. Ask them to fix this bill.