Isn’t it true that all clean energy jobs are just temporary?
From renewables to energy efficiency, clean energy offers a variety of employment opportunities for our state. North Carolina is home to more than 34,000 full-time equivalent clean energy jobs, which has been increasing in recent years. What’s more, those who might struggle to find temporary work in rural areas now have more access to good paying jobs, such as those in solar farm construction and operation.
Isn’t clean energy an unnecessary and costly investment for NC, which is home to some of the lowest electric rates in the Southeast, and there is cheap natural gas?
North Carolina continues to operate under a monopoly energy market. The introduction of clean energy into our limited market has been vital in keeping our rates lower than they would be with only traditional energy sources powering our homes and businesses. Many renewable sources are now approaching cost parity with conventional and unconventional natural gas. The price of solar generation is now cheaper. And these prices are projected to continue falling. This is just one reason why homeowners, businesses, and utilities across the country are getting on board with renewables – and quickly. Add in the fact that fuel prices, unlike solar and wind, can fluctuate in price at a moment’s notice, clean energy is a no-brainer.Continuing to nurture our growing clean energy economy is crucial for our effort to keep rates down in the long-term.
North Carolina fuel costs are low. Why invest in clean energy?
Clean energy investments are a hedge against variable fuel costs – which could rise again at a moment’s notice. Because clean energy sources like solar and energy efficiency technologies don’t rely on fuel, there is much more price certainty. Clean energy generation increasesstate energy resiliency and securityas more energy is produced inside the state and does not need to be imported from other states or countries.Bonus: unlike traditional, fossil-fuel powered sources, the price of renewables continues to decrease – even as the technology improves.
I read a study that says NC REPS is going to cause energy prices to increase 42% by 2020! Is this true?
This number comes from a study done by the CIVITAS Institute and contains several flaws. The report fails to take cost caps into consideration, overestimates levelized costs of energy for solar and wind, and exaggerates the amount of new generation needed to satisfy future REPS requirements. A more detailed account can be found here.Additionally, an analysis by RTI International and ScottMadden found concluded that REPS will save ratepayers $651 million by 2029.
Do tax credits for installing clean energy only benefit the rich?
Clean energy policies like the now-expired NC Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), and federal Investment Tax Credit, have benefited all electric ratepayers in North Carolina – not just those who’ve taken advantage of credits to finance their projects. In fact, as of 2016 these investments across many rural and underserved communities statewide returned $1.64 for every $1 of REITC incentive to the local economy.
Can wind energy exist with the military?
Yes, it can! Existing state law in N.C. and federal law requires the Base Commander at major military installations to be consulted on all wind energy projects. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense has a very strict permitting process for any wind project that must be followed.Federal law requires military leaders must review and approve wind energy projects before they can be built. The North Carolina General Assembly enacted an 18-month moratorium on wind energy permitting to review potential issues with future wind development, including impact on military activities. The moratorium will conclude on December 31, 2018 contingent on additional restrictions from the 2018 session.
Why do I have a fee on my electric bill for renewable energy?
Clean energy policies, like the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), make up less than $1 on most customers’ average $100+ monthly bill. Taking into account this REPS charge, North Carolina customers saved approximately $8 on their 2014 electric bills. And these charges are also keeping our future bills down: a 2015 report estimates $651 million will be saved by 2029, thanks to clean energy’s presence in our energy mix.
What are my options for supporting or owning solar energy generation in North Carolina?
There are many options for owning, purchasing, or supportingsolar generation in the state. Check out NCSEA’s Consumer Guide on Customer-Owned Solar PVfor more information on the options for owning solar PV. If owning solar PV doesn’t fit your needs, community solar may be a great alternative. Depending on the community solar facility organization, multiple community members can obtain financial benefit and/or power from a subscription, or own a portion of the system. Find out more about this option on NCSEA’s Community Solar page. Many electricity providers also offer renewable energy options through your current bill.Ask your electricity provider what renewable energy options are available.
Isn’t clean energy development very land intensive?
This is a common misconception. Although North Carolina is second in the nation for installed solar capacity, solar farms here occupy just 0.2% of total North Carolina cropland. And the Amazon East Wind Farm’s 104 turbines will occupy less than 208 acres.
Will I still be able to farm my land if it has clean energy installed on it?
Good news – many farmers and land-owners can keep their properties farmable, even when there is clean energy like solar installed on it. By leasing a portion of land for solar, landowners gain a steady stream of income, and as a result, can keep the land in its original form during hard economic times. For example, Sun Raised Farms showcases agriculture and solar working harmoniously together. This collection of farmers raises sheep to maintain the grounds of solar farms. A win-win!
Aren’t materials in solar panels toxic?
Solar panel materials are enclosed and don’t mix with water or vaporize into the air – meaning there is no threat of chemicals releasing into the environment during normal use. In addition, the panels are manufactured to endure all weather conditions and are sealed shut to further ensure public safety. Almost all solar PV panels are made of tempered glass, pass rigorous hail tests, and are regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions.
Need some help deciphering clean energy terms and acronyms? Head over to NCSEA's glossary to find out more.