NCSEA is disappointed to learn that the North Carolina General Assembly has neglected to include an extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in its proposed budget. By allowing the credit to sunset at the end of the 2015, the legislature has sent a clear message to countless clean energy workers, investors, businesses and customers that North Carolina is looking to roll back the clock on $4.7 billion in net positive economic impact and squander one of our state’s greatest economic opportunities of this decade and the next.
We recognize that this decision did not arrive easily. North Carolina’s clean energy economy has champions from all walks of life in every corner of the state. Throughout the long legislative session, many of them worked tirelessly to educate and engage decision makers around what we know to be true: that clean energy is working for North Carolina. We also know that there are many strong legislative champions for clean energy in both the House and the Senate and on both sides of the aisle. NCSEA wishes to thank them for their efforts to extend this tax credit, and we will continue to seek their leadership in the growth of North Carolina’s clean energy economy. After all, the clean energy economy is responsible for creating thousands of jobs and revitalizing North Carolina’s most rural communities, while providing longstanding infrastructure to secure a resilient, affordable electric portfolio for our future. We want to thank the countless business, non-profit, policy and customer voices who joined in this advocacy throughout the long legislative session.
This is not the first time clean energy has come under attack, and we can’t expect it will be the last time, both this session and in the future. But we also know this is a resilient industry that has also been wanting for government to keep pace with the investments, savings and economic opportunities clean energy has been delivering to all North Carolinians. In fact, amid the past five straight years of sustained challenges from a minority of members in the North Carolina General Assembly, investments in rural communities have doubled, cost savings from clean energy have increased, and costs for renewable technologies have steadily decreased. We look forward to continuing to advocate for the clean energy economy that has created 23,000 jobs, lowered electric bills, cultivated a more resilient rural economy, and increased energy independence – both now and in the long-term.
Meanwhile, South Carolina, Georgia and other Southeastern states have recently opened their doors to clean energy investment and jobs in an effort to emulate North Carolina’s successes. NCSEA will continue to advocate for strong clean energy leadership in North Carolina through policies like the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, while continuing to work with stakeholders to advance responsible clean energy policy and market development. NCSEA will also support our members as they seek to grow in other states and diversify their markets in other states that have policies that support their employees and investments and bring profits home to NC.
The clean energy economy has been attacked repeatedly this legislative session, and more harmful legislation is still in play. Those leading the well-funded misinformation campaign against clean energy had a significant presence in the General Assembly this session, and we have to assume they will continue advocating for more damage to the clean energy economy.