North Carolina’s RPS costs:
- $556 Million in increased energy costs and money taken out of economy.
- 3,600 jobs lost because of higher energy costs
- $224 Million in tax give-aways and special favors
- Clean up and disposal costs? Unknown. No plan for decommissioning spent solar panels laden with toxins and poisons.
Solution pending in HB 332 and/or HB 760:
- Freeze RPS at current 6% (12.5% at full implementation)
- Freeze residential cost caps
- Allow solar credit to sunset
- Study energy plan
A dozen reasons to freeze, cap, sunset and study:
- Twenty-nine states have renewable energy mandates. Electricity prices are 38% higher in states with mandates. North Carolina is the only state in the South that has imposed a renewable energy mandate.
- Since 2007, the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) mandate forces North Carolinians to purchase an increasing amount of electricity from solar and wind farms – energy that is more expensive and less efficient than electricity generated from traditional sources.
- North Carolina’s energy rates have increased 2.5 times as much as the national average since 2008. So far the REPS mandate (at it’s lowest level of 3%) has increased electricity costs a whopping $276 million thru 2014 with an estimated additional cost of $150 million by 2020. Unless the legislature acts, the mandate will increase to 12.5% and the costs associated with it will quadruple.
- Further losses include $43 million in lost investment, $44 million in lost revenue, $57 million in lost disposable income, and $140 million in lost state gross domestic product.
- 3,600 jobs lost. Job loss from increased cost of energy exceed those created by renewable energy industry construction and maintenance.
- Residential customers pay an additional $12 per year for costs associated with the RPS. No big deal? There are 3.5 Million retail energy customers in NC. Low-income customers are hit hardest. Without legislative action, the cap could go up to $34, raising the cost of renewable rider fees to $119 Million.
- In addition to the mandate requiring the purchase of renewable energy, solar project tax incentives allow for 100 percent return on investment within six years for renewable energy property development projects. 100 percent cost recovery in 6 years!
- State solar industry tax credits which began in 1999, totaled $224 million from 2010 to 2014. In addition solar farm investors get a 30% federal credit, federal and state accelerated depreciation, and a local 80% property tax abatement. NC offers 9 programs offering energy tax credits, solar rebates and incentives. Who’s crying loudest to keep the solar subsidies in place? Why, those who are getting the credits – folks like Apple, Facebook, Google, WalMart, Target, SAS, Bank of America.
- Legislation to repeal or phase out the mandate has been introduced in 2011, 2013, and again in 2015. Currently before the General Assembly, House Bill 332 does not repeal the RPS, or extra cost, it simply freezes the REPS mandate it where it stands at 6 percent, freezes the residential cost cap at $12 a year and holds harmless any current contracts.
- A comprehensive study will determine if the mandate offers a true benefit to the citizens of North Carolina. The study will examine potential reforms, security, stability, and long-term energy needs.
- Has the boost offered to kick start a renewable energy industry become a drag on the economy and burden to taxpayers? Is it time for a sustainable industry to sustain itself? Those who are not the beneficiaries of very generous government assistance would say yes.
- Free North Carolinians to have available reliable least cost energy at the flip of a switch. It matters to consumers, to taxpayers and to job creators. Stop the gimmicks. Power up.