Can we save the Renewable Energy Bill? Help S B 3

S 3, Promote Renewable Energy/Baseload Generation, has been referred to the House Energy and Energy Efficiency Comm. While we should support legislation which increases the use of renewable sources of energy, changes have been made now to encourage the use of fossil fuels.
Perhaps most troubling is a provision which would allow costs for Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) to be passed along to consumers. This means that ratepayers would be paying for the construction of new power plants before they ever started producing electricity, and even if construction were halted and they never produced electricity.

This, in effect, transfers the financial risk of building new plants from a corporation’s stockholders to its customers and would increase incentives for a company to start construction prematurely or unnecessarily.

Does anyone know what we can do to help restore the original intent? cosponsors are Cowell, Atwater and others?

Comments

Renewables now in House?

I am trying to find out when the hearing might be this week. Does the House need to hear from us. They did remove the CWIP in the Senate bill but it still mixes up the coal and nuclear with renewables

I did not find anything up to date on NCwarn or other sites

TurnNCBlue

Pricey Harrison's Newsletter

says this

Energy

The House Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee, which I chair, continued consideration of Senate Bill 3, the renewable energy and efficiency portfolio standard (REPS)/baseload bill. Representatives Grier Martin, Jim Harrell, Carolyn Justice, and I had sponsored the House companion to the REPS part of the bill, House Bill 77. As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, this well intentioned bill, originally proposed to move us toward a more sustainable energy future, has been loaded up with sweeteners for the utilities. We have had several hours of hearings and discussion on the bill and hope to make some well needed changes to the bill before it is voted out of the Energy Committee this Monday. It then must go to the Committees on Public Utilities and Finance. Public opposition to the bill is heating up, with consumer advocates and most environmentalists opposed to the bill and most of the business community in favor of it. The Governor's office has also expressed concerns with the bill.

I received this email last night from a friend

who is heavily involved in the environmental movement, on the board of Sustainable Sandhills, etc.

Crucial Action for Clean Energy and Climate Protection:

NC Energy Bill S-3 has fatal flaws: FIX IT OR NIX IT!

With global warming accelerating at a frightening pace, NC needs to begin
the transition to proven efficiency and clean energy programs NOW.
Legislation introduced earlier this year aimed to require power utilities to
increase the amount of energy they produce using renewable resources and to
implement efficiency standards. However, heavy influence from the utilities
has resulted in some very bad provisions in the draft bill (see below for
more details). The bill has passed in the Senate and is now going to the
House for consideration. NOW is the time to demand that either significant
changes be made to S3, or it must be stopped - it's time to fix it or nix
it!

1. Contact key state representatives to prevent a ratepayer and
public health rip-off! Urge them to pass clean-energy legislation WITHOUT
provisions that could:

a.. Shift billions of dollars in risk for construction of new coal and
nuclear plants onto utility customers, even if they are never built, while
ensuring a profit for the power companies;

b.. Give utilities massive incentives for efficiency programs with no
guarantees of effectiveness, rather than letting ratepayers keep energy
savings;

c.. Create new incentives for industrial hog and poultry operations to
sell energy without meeting environmental performance standards!

Contact any or all of key Representatives below. E-mails are good but calls
are even better!

Copy Speaker Joe Hackney on each contact: Joeh@ncleg.net 919-733-3451

HOUSE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY COMMITTEE

PRICEY HARRISON, CHAIR, 919-733-5771, Priceyh@ncleg.net, GREENSBORO

JOE BOYLAN, 919-733-5903, Joeb@ncleg.net, PINEHURST

JOE TOLSON, 919-715-3024, Joet@ncleg.net, PINETOPS

TRUDI WALEND, 919-715-4466, Trudiw@ncleg.net, BREVARD

SUSAN G. FISHER, 919-715-2013, Susanf@ncleg.net. ASHEVILLE

DALE R. FOLWELL, 919-733-5787, Dalef@ncleg.net, WINSTON-SALEM

PRYOR GIBSON, 919-715-3007, Pryorg@ncleg.net, WADESBORO

JIM GULLEY, 919-733-5800, Jimg@ncleg.net, MATTHEWS

JIM HARRELL, 919-715-1883, Jimha@ncleg.net, ELKIN

PAUL LUEBKE, 919-733-7663, Paull@ncleg.net, DURHAM

WILL NEUMANN, 919-733-5868, Wiln@ncleg.net, BELMONT

RUTH SAMUELSON, 919-715-3009, Ruths@ncleg.net, CHARLOTTE

DREW SAUNDERS, 919-733-5606, Drews@ncleg.net, HUNTERSVILLE

CULLIE TARLETON, 919-733-7727, Culliet@ncleg.net, BLOWING ROCK

CHARLES C. THOMAS, 919-715-3012, Charlest@ncleg.net, ASHEVILLE

Urge all of your friends and contacts in NC - and your local media - to
fix the damaging parts of this bill or STOP IT!

If passed as is, Senate Bill 3 would create public resentment of higher
energy costs and direct the blame at environmentalists, while it's actually
utility greed that would turn the cleanest, most cost effective way of
meeting energy needs-efficiency and conservation-into a consumer rip-off.
Years of expensive battles in the Utilities Commission over new policies
allowed in this bill will mean that NC looses precious time in turning
around its legacy of dirty, wasted energy.

1. Promotion of coal and nuclear plants at the expense of ratepayers:

One amendment the utilities added to S3 would transfer the financial
risk for new multi-billion dollar nuclear and coal plants onto the
ratepayers. Duke and Progress could bill customers during construction for
costs - plus profit - of new plants, even if they're never completed.
Construction Work in Progress ("CWIP") was banned in the 1980s when those
utilities cancelled nine reactors they were building, wasting over $1
billion of public money. The power companies are demanding these
pre-guaranteed profits because warming climate, growing water scarcity, and
spiraling construction costs make water-hogging coal and nuclear plants (
which already use 82% of all the water withdrawn in NC!) likely to be
unusable in the future.

2. Exorbitant utility profits for efficiency programs:

S3 would permit grossly excessive compensation to the utilities for
efficiency programs, allowing the utilities to recover what they could have
charged for electricity made with power plants had the watts actually been
used. This compensation scheme would essentially rob consumers of most of
the financial savings from using less electricity! New York, Oregon, New
Jersey and other states have recognized the inherent conflict of interest in
letting utilities run efficiency programs and create an independent
energy-efficiency utility to promote the fastest, cheapest ways of reducing
our electricity use and our global warming emissions. NC needs a
comprehensive and independent efficiency statewide program, instead of
giving massive and unjustified profits for years.

3. Clean energy and efficiency could be delayed or eliminated:

S3 allows the Utilities Commission to "modify or delay" clean energy
requirements "if the Commission determines that it is in the public interest
to do so," This provision gives the Commission, chaired by a lawyer who
represented Progress Energy before his appointment earlier this year, wide
discretion to gut the clean energy parts of the bill. Overbuilding of
expensive power plants as a result of incentives (see 1. above) could allow
the Commission to conclude that it is not "in the public interest" to pay
more for efficiency and clean energy programs. S3 makes more power plants
and higher electric bills a certainty, and clean energy a fading
possibility.

4. Animal waste incentives would perpetuate environmental damage:
S3 would allow hog operations to capture methane from cesspools and
charge premium prices for electricity, calling it a "renewable" resource.
This provision could undermine years of work towards getting agribusiness to
clean up 2,500 cesspools that threaten the health of people and rivers. The
bill's 150 megawatt set-aside for electricity from poultry waste would allow
poultry incinerators to emit even more pollutants than coal plants, with
current weak regulations.

Sorry for the long comment - thought it was relevant.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

The N&O had a decent editorial on this yesterday

Here's the link.

The comprehensive energy bill taking final shape in the General Assembly this month is all about power -- producing it and paying for it. It's also about powerful compromises -- trade-offs between consumer, environmental and business interests. And, like the controversial immigration package recently defeated in the U.S. Senate, North Carolina's multi-faceted energy bill emerged from some surprising agreements reached during a quiet process that involved, as one state senator put it, "more than a dozen interested parties."

::

Some environmental groups balk at power plant-construction provisions in Senate Bill 3 that one news story understandably termed "sweeteners" for the utilities. The bill, for example, allows power companies to start billing consumers for the cost of building new plants before the units are finished.

::

The ratepayers, some environmentalists worry, will bear all the risk. Not all of it, surely -- but perhaps too much. Although ratepayers clearly have an interest in keeping North Carolina's electric utilities financially strong, there should be a limit on those ratepayers' risks when it comes to new plant construction.

The editorial is a good overview of the issues. Definitely worth the read.

Just a reminder to legislators:

the State of North Carolina is the 4th largest carbon-emitting state in this country. Environmentalists refer to us as one of the "Brown" states, because of our continued reliance on coal-fired power plants and our seeming lack of willpower to change that.

SB3 could have been a landmark bill, placing not only North Carolina but other Southeastern states as well on a path to clean and sustainable energy production. Unfortunately, as with many other good ideas, it's been hijacked by special interests and has morphed into something that I believe can be easily manipulated by the utilities to produce little or no increase in the use of renewables. I've detailed my concerns over the wording of this legislation in previous entries here at BlueNC, but it doesn't take a genius to detect the escape clauses in SB3.

I understand the desire by some to get this bill signed into law however flawed it may be. Some believe that, once it's in place, other efforts to promote renewable energy will be easier to sell. There is also an (understandable) desire by many for North Carolina to be the first Southeastern state to adopt an REPS, so we can send a message to the rest of the country that we are a progressive and forward-looking state. But substance matters much more than form, and there's a point where the argument "anything is better than nothing" becomes an embarassing tribute to a lack of resolve and vision.

I brought this bill up on a Dailykos diary, and was lamenting what I believe to be a wasted opportunity. One of the folks there who is a big supporter/promoter of REPS legislation nationwide said something along the lines of, "That's really not that bad, considering the state you're from."

If anybody reading this considers that a compliment, think again.

Easy way to help fix (S3) renewables bill

Click here for an easy way to take action and send a message to your state Representative, Speaker Hackney, and Governor Easley. Ask them to fix the problems with S3 including power plant financing and the need for clean standards for getting energy from hog lagoons.

No time to fix now, pass it

Count down the days left, not many. Count down the number of critical bills passed this session, not many. Count down the number of bills that will be passed in the election year, not many. S3 is a compromise that no one is happy with, and that makes it a winner.

Stamey Stamey

Stamey Stamey

If no one is happy with

It shouldn't be a winner. That's the wrong sort of compromise.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Fight to remove the bad, then consider the options

I expect to be working to change the bill to remove the bad parts. I think there is a committee meeting Monday at 3pm. If so, I will be there.

If we can't remove the bad parts, the question will then be: does the good outweigh the bad. That will be a tough judgment call and many people who usually agree will find themselves on different sides.

Everyone should immediately contact their Representatives, or the members of the energy committee, to voice their opinion. The committee members are listed at:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails...

Sorry, but you're mistaken--the utilities love this bill now.

Unfortunately, the utilities are in fact delighted with S 3. They get the return in extreme form of a public subsidy for nuclear and coal construction that they have had on their wish list for 25 years, since North Carolina stripped it away from them in 1982. The return of CWIP would represent a consumer and environmental catastrophe.

We DO have time to fix this bill--even if we have to do so during the 2008 short session. Remember that media and public attention is always elevated during that period, making it the best environment for our efforts, should the bill need to be held over to that time.

Fix it now, or fix it during the short session. Please do NOT support passing it in its current disastrous form.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

Dan has a point: S3 can be held for 2008

Dan,
You have a good point. if S 3 stinks too bad (and it does stink now) it could be held and work continued next year in the short session.

But if some but not all of the bad parts are removed, there would still be the question of whether the good outweighs the bad.

One question that you may be able to answer, Dan: will certificates of public convenience and necessity be required for a plant construction in order for the utility to recover capital cost? (in the bill's present form).

Divided we stand

Well...no one would believe which environmentalists are siding with the powerful against Pricey. Unbelievable.
In Chapel Hill there is big division among folks whom I would not have thought I would disagree with.

NC Warn Versus many folks who are very active in the environmental world.
funny.

I wonder if they all are willing to be publicly siding against Ellie and Pricey?

TurnNCBlue

The shame of it

is that easter eggs and goodies had to be put into the bill to keep the bigs happy. It's very disappointing and disillusioning.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Kill S3 and we are guaranteed new coal and nuclear

Renewable energy and energy efficiency at 12.5% by 2021 would make NC the 4th most progressive renewables state in the nation. If we want to guarantee new nuclear and coal plants in NC, we should kill S3. Population growth and increased electricity demand will make the Utilities' rate case for CWIP and Certificates of Convenience at the NCUC smooth sailing without any proof that alternative energy is viable in this state. Improvements will be made to S3 before the Monday vote. We can all be proud of the final S3. If it fails, NC will remain one of the major coal polluters and on the fast track for new nuclear. No one, especially Ellie and Pricey, can be proud of that.

necessary for passage

disillusioning & disappointing maybe, but a deal to secure passage.

Stamey Stamey

Stamey Stamey

This bill is not needed. Let

This bill is not needed. Let the energy markets work alone

Are You Insane?

Or do you have lots of stock in Progress Energy?

Utility bills keep going up even though we use less ...

Blowing the tops off NC and TN mountains to get the coal therein... coal which should be saved for future use ... just in case shit hits the fan.

Nuclear power plants - expensive to build and operate ... not to mention vulnerable.

Gee - the sun is still shining free.
The wind still blows - and no one has to pay for either.

Do you have a problem with renewable energy or do you just like to make noise?

Energy markets work "what".

Is that the Ken Lay Memorial Energy and Crooks Markets? Or is it the TYCO Markets Concepts? Your blind belief in markets is indeed touching. We have just had a century replete with a business/markets scandal a day. Where were you?

wafranklin

 

If another coal-fired power plant

is ever built in NC, it will be too soon. There should be a line in the bill prohibiting the building of any more coal-fired plants, and seeking to phase out the ones we have. Between the destruction of the mountains caused by coal mining and the greenhouse gases released from burning coal, we have to find another way.

Renewables and efficiency must lead the way. But given population growth and the growing number of power-hungry gadgets in our homes, another non-greenhouse gas emitting source is needed. Despite its drawbacks, that source in nuclear power.

S3 is being Improved

Don't give up on this bill. Legislators are working, as we blog, to improve the bad parts of this bill. It will NOT be perfect, but by tomorrow afternoon I believe S3 will reflect the sentiments of the environmental community of NC. We have been split on this bill and that has been painful for many of us. Some of us, myself included, believe that the only way to slow or even stop the juggernaut of new coal and nukes is to enact an REPS. Others believe the provisions enabling cost recovery for baseload plants under construction will facilitate new coal and nukes, so we should sacrifice the REPS. Both views have merit and are operating like a battle on two fronts against polluting power plants. Pricey Harrison is working hard to find the bridge that will connect our forces. She and Ellie have long been great advocates for renewable energy and energy efficiency. If it is possible in the current political climate, they along with Joe Hackney will be due enormous thanks for helping this bill succeed. Monday at 3PM is the vote.

The tests for improving the S3 Energy Bill

We understand that the substitute S3 energy bill to be voted on in the Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee will be a very modest improvement. We hope that is not the case. The bill deserves support when and only when three critical changes are made:

· Provisions promoting new coal and nuclear plants are removed.

· Full environmental protections at hog and poultry waste-to-energy plants are added.

· Provisions allowing utilities to grossly overcharge for energy efficiency are removed.

It should be pointed out that only two environmental groups support the current S3 bill - and they admit to having to hold their nose with many of its provisions. They are Environmental Defense and NCSEA. All the other environmental and consumer groups that have engaged on the issue have expressed strong concerns and can not support the present bill.

People should also know that many Water quality and river keeper groups together with the Environmental Justice Network strongly oppose the hog farm provisions of the bill.
See below for that:

Pete MacDowell
NC WARN

Note end of press statement below:
PRESS RELEASE

North Carolina Environmental Groups Are Outraged by

State Legislators Actions on the Albertson Bill (Senate Bill 1465)

and Renewable Energy Bill (Senate Bill-3)

July 20, 2007

SENATE BILL 1465 (Albertson Bill)

SENATE BILL 3 (RENEWABLE ENERGY BILL)

(See Addendum)

On Wednesday, July 18, 2007, the North Carolina House Agriculture Committee passed the Albertson Bill and the House Energy Committee is poised to pass the Renewable Energy Bill. These bills, taken together, allow for the continued use and replacement of existing open hog cesspools and sprayfields for the disposition of hog feces and urine. These bills force eastern North Carolina residents to continue to suffer polluted rivers, groundwater and air. Future generations will be required to endure the spraying of hog feces and urine near and on the communities where they live. Most often, these are poor, African-American communities whose best interests are not represented by government officials. It’s an environmental injustice of the worst kind.

Community grassroots organizations and environmental groups are outraged!

“The time to rid North Carolina of lagoons and sprayfields is long past,” said Gary Grant, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens of Tillery and chair of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network. “Our communities have been sickened by hog odors for the past twenty-five years. Now, our elected representatives are forcing another generation of our children to suffer this pollution nightmare. This legislation is a declaration of war! If it’s a war they want, it’s a war they’ll get. There is no way we can stand for this another minute. Simply put, you can’t do this to us without expecting serious repercussions. We are not afraid to fight for the protection of our children, grandchildren and communities, and we will use every legal means available to us to do it.”

Don Webb, a former industrial hog farmer and President of the Alliance for a Responsible Swine Industry, sees it much the same way. “Those legislators don’t smell it up in Raleigh so they think it’s not a problem. I was in the hog business and I know what it does to neighbors and the environment. Maybe it’s time the legislators and the Governor Easley got to share what’s being forced up our noses and down our throats. What’s legal for one should be legal for all. Just because Governor Easley and our legislators can afford to live in fancy homes well separated for the smell of swine feces and urine, should not exempt them from this so-called smell of money. The laws of our country guarantee peace and tranquility for all its citizens—not just the privileged. I’m not advocating that we break the law. I am advocating for equal justice for all. Neither Governor Easley nor the General Assembly has the right to do this to us. Why are they passing laws that deprive us of our rights?”

The Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, Larry Baldwin, stressed a related point. “I’m tired of watching millions of fish die in the Neuse with open bleeding lesions covering their bodies. The hog industry produces more fecal waste in North Carolina each and every day than is produced by 100,000,000 people. That’s supported by a study of Dr Mark Sobsey of the University of North Carolina. On my air patrols, I see that fecal waste being discharged to our rivers, streams and wetlands all too often. It’s no wonder the fish are dying. Our elected officials are nowhere to be found when the fish are dying. Maybe, the time has come to bring some of those dead fish to Raleigh so the legislators and the Governor can see them for themselves. In that way, they can understand the impacts of swine pollution.”

Heather Jacobs, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper, echoes Baldwin’s concern. “Our rivers and streams are an economic resource of tremendous value. We, the citizens of North Carolina, jointly own that resource. It is a life estate. When we die, we pass it along to our children. No one, for profit or otherwise, has the right to destroy our property. Unfortunately, like my fellow Riverkeepers, I have seen what the hog industry is doing to destroy our rivers. They need to be held accountable—same with the elected officials who make it possible for the hog barons to profit from pollution.”

“Down east is where it all happens,” said Brian Wheat, the New Riverkeeper. This environmentally sensitive area is known as the coastal plain. It is full of wetlands, streams, creeks and rivers. They are like veins and arteries nourishing a body. All along the way, hog factories operate lagoons and sprayfields in ways that poison these beautiful and valuable waters. It’s like a cancer on the body. It’s a crime—a real criminal offense. Our elected officials are not only letting them get away with it --they are promoting it. Makes you wonder-- who elected them, the pigs or the people?”

Hope Taylor Guevara, Clean water for North Carolina, puts it this way: Urban folks often have little idea how widespread or massive these hog operations are, how many folks’ quality of life and health have been damaged by toxic air releases, and the threat to hundreds of thousands of drinking water wells from leaking nitrates and bacteria. Games and unfulfilled promises have been all that suffering communities have gotten from policy makers for decades! We must ensure that no incentives are available to help perpetuate this massive injustice. The inclusion of hog and poultry waste as sources of “renewable” energy in Senate Bill 3 is just one more effort of the industry to keep polluting communities and make more profits than ever!”

“It is unfortunate that this situation is escalating,” said Rick Dove, the former Neuse Riverkeeper. “I have lived along the Neuse River for the past 35 years. Over the past 15 years, I have observed these hog factories from the air for more than 1,000 hours. We have photographs by the tens of thousands and video footage it would take months to review—all showing hog waste destroying our land and water. What hog pollution has done to the Neuse and other rivers is alarming and shameful. This year, the Neuse has once again been listed as one of the 10 most endangered rivers in North America. One of the leading causes is known to be hog pollution. But how can that be? The state regulates hog factories as “zero discharge facilities.” That means “no discharges” are permitted. Unfortunately, the state has almost no control, especially in the way of enforcement. Zero discharge--that’s a complete farce. We

cannot permit our elected officials to legislate in this way. They are the ones empowered to stop this insanity. They are not properly representing the citizens of North Carolina--shame on them for that.”

Dave McCracken, President of the Neuse River Foundation puts it this way: “This issue is too important to let our legislators and the governor’s office continue to ignore public health issues and every citizen’s right to clean water and air. Our elected officials are clearly under the influence of the large industrial pork producers and could care less about the poorer rural community or our rivers and streams. This is a sad day for North Carolina.”

“Want to know what it’s like to live near these pollution factories?” asks Dothula Hall, a citizen activist from Duplin County. “Those legislators need to come down and live with us for a few months. They should be sure to bring their children and grandchildren. When the black files begin to eat away at their bodies and that putrid hog stench begins to burns their eyes, noses and lungs, maybe then they will understand what they are condemning us to live with. No one should be forced to live with this. To be honest, as angry as I am with the General Assembly and the Governor, I wouldn’t even wish this on any of them. I don’t have it in me to be so hateful.”

UNITY OF STATEMENT

How lacking in environmental support are these two pieces of legislation? Media sources are encouraged to call each and every environmental group in North Carolina so they can speak for themselves. We are confident you will find the results to be one-sided in opposition to these bills. In no way should the media be reporting that the environmental community supports these two bills in their current form.

Submitted by the following Grassroots Coalition:

Don Webb, Alliance for a responsible Swine Industry 252 289 7373

Gary Grant, Concerned Citizens of Tillery 252 826 3017

North Carolina Environmental Justice Network

Larry Baldwin, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper 252 670 0389

Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance 252 636 9238

Brian Wheat, New Riverkeeper 910 526-3933

Hope Taylor Guevara, Clean Water for North Carolina 919 401 9600

Dothula Hall, Citizen Activist, Warsaw, North Carolina 910 381 5252

Heather Jacobs, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper, 252 946-7211

Dean Naujoks, Upper Neuse Riverkeeper 919 856 1180

Dave McCracken, President, Neuse River Foundation 252 637 7972

Doug Springer, Cape Fear Riverkeeper 910 602 3862

David Emmerling, Pamlico-Tar River Foundation 252 946 7211

ADDENDUM

This Albertson Bill (SB 1465) in its original form banned new construction of lagoons and sprayfields, made permanent the new standards to control swine odor and other forms of hog pollution and provided some funding to assist contract hog growers to switch from the failed lagoon and sprayfield system to the newly developed and approved environmentally superior technologies. This legislation, in its original form was fully supported by North Carolina’s Environmental and grassroots Community groups.

Unfortunately, before its passage on July 18, 2007, the Albertson Bill was amended to include two destructive environmental provisions. One would let the industry off the hook on the requirement of employing the new standards for controlling odor and other pollution discharges in capturing methane gas as a renewable energy source. Another provision would allow the hog industry to repair or replace failing lagoons with new lagoons. These provisions, reportedly brokered by the office of Governor Easley, will encourage and permit the continued use of lagoons and sprayfields in North Carolina for the next 25 years. This is destructive to the state’s environment, public health, safety and economic growth. The heaviest weight of this burden will fall on the poorer rural communities of eastern North Carolina. It is an environmental injustice of monumental proportions. The Albertson Bill, as amended, is not supported by the vast majority of North Carolina’s environmental and grassroots communities.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BILL--SENATE BILL 3 (S-3)

Another Bill moving through the North Carolina General Assembly that is grossly lacking in environmental support is Renewable Energy Bill, S-3. This is a bad Bill cloaked in an environmentally friendly name. It is objectionable for many reasons. Not only does it promote the expansion of dirty energy sources, it is also economically weighted in favor of the utility industry. Worse, it promotes the continued use of lagoons and sprayfields in North Carolina. Like the amended Albertson Bill, it authorizes the use of existing lagoons and sprayfields to capture methane gas. This is nothing more than an excuse to continue using the failed swine lagoon and sprayfield system that has devastated North Carolina’s communities and environment over the past 25 years.

From the Civitas Septic Tank

John Hood lets his readers know it's all really a tax, because it will make your bill go up.

JOHN HOOD: By Any Name, It's a Tax Hike

The gist of his spew is: Unless you run your household the way "they" want you to, you'll wind up paying more in energy costs.

Newsflash, Johnny Boy. The industry is already regulated, and should be. And we should be looking for renewable energy sources. "The Market" won't do it on its own, because the market is guided by profits alone, and apparently has never had strategies longer term than their own 4th quarter profits.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Renewable Energy Portfolio. SB 3

We could and should set higher safety and ethical standards for NC...If not for ourselves, for those who live near hog lagoons and coal fired power plants. I think there are moral issues here about the urban and the privileged getting the electricity we need to be comfortable on the backs of the poor and rural and outcasts.
Should the bill pass with these negative provisions, it will be very discouraging. I believe that we should always hope for and advocate for what we believe in. No point in offering compromises until there is not any more hope. Then it is okay to work for a compromise that moves things forward.
I applaud Pricey Harrison for leading on this.

TurnNCBlue

Don't Pass This Bill

You know you've heard it before:

If you can't fix it - Fuck it.

Start over if you have to but I don't think you have to. Take the good parts and start over.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing right

- the first time.

- Breaking -

“Waste away”, should read: “Here to Stay”.

This legislation is fatally flawed. It permits the replacement of most all of the existing 4,000 lagoons you mentioned with---new lagoons! The devil is in the details. The damnable truth is that we are being condemned to eternally endure this lagoon hell.

Do we need another Dennis/Floyd combination to prove once and for all - this is old technology. We can and we must do better.

North Carolina can be a leader in methane capture for conversion to bio-fuels. But not with mega pools of swine waste sitting around waiting for a hurricane to happen.

The technology exists. Other states use it - and successfully (read $$$ making) It takes an investment but NC State has been working on this for quite a few years now. It is ready to be put into place.

Call your legislators. Call Bob Etheridge. He has been working on this at the Federal level. Get involved.

There is no reason for North Carolina to be last in anything. If we can be first in flight, we have Tar Heels that won't run from a fight - We can DO this.

The Albertson Bill, as amended, is not supported by the vast majority of North Carolina’s environmental and grassroots communities.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BILL--SENATE BILL 3 (S-3)

Another Bill moving through the North Carolina General Assembly that is grossly lacking in environmental support is Renewable Energy Bill, S-3. This is a bad Bill cloaked in an environmentally friendly name. It is objectionable for many reasons. Not only does it promote the expansion of dirty energy sources, it is also economically weighted in favor of the utility industry. Worse, it promotes the continued use of lagoons and sprayfields in North Carolina. Like the amended Albertson Bill, it authorizes the use of existing lagoons and sprayfields to capture methane gas. This is nothing more than an excuse to continue using the failed swine lagoon and sprayfield system that has devastated North Carolina’s communities and environment over the past 25 years.

Energy Bill Update

http://www.heraldsun.com/state/6-867298.cfm

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The fireworks failed to materialize Monday as a state House committee approved with little change a bill that would require North Carolina's utilities to provide 12.5 percent of their retail electricity from renewable energy and power-saving measures.

The panel overwhelmingly voted against an attempt to remove language that would help finance construction of new power plants, which opponents complained would defeat the bill's original purpose by encouraging utilities to turn to old methods of electricity generation.

snip

The committee made only two notable changes to the measure sponsored by Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, before approving it on a voice vote.

One section now would block utilities from receiving a permit to build a new coal or nuclear power plant unless they prove they can't meet growing demand by using renewable fuel and conservation.

The other requires companies that provide power by burning swine and poultry waste -- fuel sources given a specific role in the renewable-efficiency portfolio standard -- to use the best available technology to control noxious emissions.

These 2 amendments sound like they are steps in the right direction. For those who know more about this bill than I do, what else needs to be changed?

We need to generate our own

renewable energy. Here. In North Carolina.

We don't need to be buying clean energy made elsewhere while our coal plants are spouting poison into the air, but the way this bill is worded the utilities can choose to do just that.

We need to construct wind farms in the mountains and in the coastal areas, which are both rated as ideal for this. We can generate 8% of our total usage using this technology alone.

We need to remove power company disincentives for residential Solar installation. The power companies need to stop treating individuals as if they are competitors and embrace the idea of residential power generation. Net-metering is a brilliant idea, but we're about to smother it in its infancy.

We need to make as many state/municipal buildings energy self-reliant by using Solar. This will actually serve two purposes: setting an example for private citizens to follow, and ensuring our infrastructure remains operable if there are problems with the power grid.

If the GA doesn't want to remove language authorizing construction, the least they can do is require some construction of actual renewable energy technology.

From Isaacs Tavern blog:

"Energy Bill moves forward

SB3, the controversial renewable energy bill, moved out of House Energy today. No one seemed terribly enthusiastic about it, but it withstood amendment attempts by Buncombe Dem Susan Fisher, who says it's a utility protection bill, and Buncombe Repub. Charles Thomas, who questioned the blurring of "special interest" and "stakeholder."

The measure heads next to House Public Utilities, and then Finance. Given its support by House leaders, don't expect it to change too much before it hits the House floor - probably later this week."

I do not have any other information.

Does not sound like it has been improved.

TurnNCBlue

Kudos Where Deserved

Keep Fighting.

Bad bills are worse than no bills at all.

Buncombe Dem Susan Fisher, who says it's a utility protection bill, and Buncombe Repub. Charles Thomas, who questioned the blurring of "special interest" and "stakeholder."

Make NC Energy Efficient. It's good for Everybody.

SB3

was reported favorably by the Committee on Public Utilities today. Not sure what, if any, changes were made.

It is now on to the Finance Committee. This may be our last best chance to make positive changes. The Finance Committee meets Tu-Wed-Th at 8:30. I do not know when the bill is scheduled to be considered.

The Finance Committee members are:

Senior Chairman Rep. Luebke
Chairman Rep. Gibson
Chairman Rep. Wainwright
Chairman Rep. Weiss
Vice Chairman Rep. Hill
Vice Chairman Rep. Holliman
Vice Chairman Rep. Howard
Vice Chairman Rep. McComas
Vice Chairman Rep. Womble
Members Rep. Blackwood, Rep. Blust, Rep. Carney, Rep. Cotham, Rep. Cunningham, Rep. Daughtridge, Rep. Faison, Rep. Farmer-Butterfield, Rep. Folwell, Rep. Hall, Rep. J. Harrell, Rep. Jones, Rep. Lewis, Rep. McGee, Rep. Owens, Rep. Ross, Rep. Setzer, Rep. Stam, Rep. Starnes, Rep. Tillis, Rep. Walend

Who Is On This Committee?

Committee on Public Utilities

That's one to bear watching.