State Policy Makers
The North Carolina General Assembly
The North Carolina General Assembly consists of 120 members in the House of Representatives and 50 members in the Senate. The legislature meets each year and is responsible for making the laws that govern the state. During odd numbered years, legislators convene for a "long session" in late January and usually work through July or later. During even numbered years, legislators convene for a "short session" in mid-May and usually work through July or later.
In the 2009-2010 legislative session, over 66 bills were introduced in the House and Senate related to renewable energy and sustainable energy solutions. In the 2010-2011 session, the Assembly introduced close to 40 energy bills. NCSEA members can follow the development of these bills through NCSEA’s legislative guide.
The following legislative committees are the ones primarily responsible for reviewing and developing renewable energy and energy efficiency related legislation in North Carolina:
The Energy Policy Council
The Energy Policy Council ("EPC" or the "Council") was originally established by the North Carolina Energy Policy Act of 1975 to act as the central energy policy planning body in the State and to advise and make recommendations on energy policy to the Governor and the General Assembly. The EPC languished after the perceived passing of the 1970s energy crisis but was re-formed and re-invigorated with the passage of NC Session Law 2009-446 ("HB 148") in July 2008.
The new EPC is a 16 member group that was appointed by NC Governor Beverly Purdue in November 2009. The Council consists of diverse members from the state's energy economy who are charged with developing a long-range state energy policy to "maximize effective management and use of present and future sources of energy," such as renewable and alternative sources of energy and improvements to the state's energy infrastructure. In contrast to the original EPC, the current EPC has more members representing energy efficiency and renewable energy interests.
Among other things, the EPC is required to establish and recommend a comprehensive long-range energy plan to the Governor; conduct an on-going evaluation of the state's energy needs and constraints and present its recommendations on these issues to the Governor and the General Assembly; develop and periodically update specific energy-related programs in North Carolina; and recommend energy legislation to the Governor and the General Assembly.
The EPC is given broad powers to carry out its duties and obligations. It has the power to obtain any information it deems necessary to carry out its functions from other State agencies, and, subject to certain procedural limitations and requirements, may require energy producers and large consumers to file reports and forecasts as the EPC deems necessary. The Department of Commerce is required to provide staff for the EPC and the NCUC is required to make its staff available to the EPC to assist in the development of state energy policies.
NCSEA has been very involved in the work of the EPC since it was re-constituted by Gov. Perdue, including serving on its renewables, efficiency and baseload subcommittees.
The State Energy Office
As a result of the passage of HB 1481, the State Energy Office ("SEO") was moved from the North Carolina Department of Administration to the Department of Commerce. The SEO provides programs, services and technical expertise focused on advancing energy efficiency in the public sector, encouraging the growth and development of the state's energy economy and making North Carolina a leader in the creation of green jobs.
The SEO is slated to receive almost $76M in federal funds under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act ("ARRA") funding. The SEO will be using the funds to focus on six areas: (1) supporting small business and industry through energy savings; (2) growing North Carolina's green workforce; (3) fostering renewable energy technology and resource innovation; (4) improving energy efficiency in local and state government; (5) promoting residential energy efficiency and renewable energy; and (6) creating an energy investment revolving loan fund.
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