Friday, June 08, 2007

Energy 6-08-07

The House Committee on Energy and Energy Efficiency, which I chair, held a hearing on House Bill 77 which is sponsored by Representatives Martin, Harrell, Justice, and me.

The bill would require that at least 7.5% of our energy needs in North Carolina come from renewable energy sources and another 7.5% from increased energy efficiencies by the year 2021. Twenty-four other states have adopted such requirements, but none in the Southeast. We must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, especially given the irrefutable evidence that our carbon emissions are harming the planet. If we do adopt the new energy standard, we will reduce emissions by 13 million tons at a time when our carbon emissions are growing at the fourth fastest rate in the country. A renewable energy standard will also create more than 20,000 good clean energy production jobs, especially in wind and solar production, in the state. The Utilities are pushing for provisions in the bill which would make it easier to build new nuclear power and coal-fire power plants. This is part of a Senate negotiated package that may come to the House for a vote. In the meantime, the House is pushing for a "clean" clean energy bill.

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