Increase the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard to 16%.
North Carolina adopted the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) in 2007. This policy required North Carolina’s investor-owned utilities to meet up to 12.5% of their energy needs through renewable energy resources or energy efficiency measures by 2021.1 Since its adoption, the standard has saved North Carolina businesses and citizens more than $160 million in energy costs, and the policy is projected to save at least $480 million by 2029.2 Our state’s commitment to the use of renewable sources of energy has been a catalyst for the fast-growing clean energy economy, while also improving our air and water quality by reducing pollution from dirty fossil fuels such as coal. Clean air reduces respiratory illnesses caused by air pollution, such as asthma, and provides other public health benefits for our citizens.
North Carolina could not have made so much progress without the REPS law and the buy-in from all parties towards a shared goal. To build on the success of the first REPS, North Carolina needs to set a new aggressive and achievable goal in a way that maintains affordable targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. We should increase the renewable energy standard to 16% by 2025.
The annual generation of energy through renewables grew substantially in 2014 and 2015. This trend is expected to continue as numerous renewable-energy projects have been registered with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, but not yet installed. As those projects come online in the coming years, we can anticipate that our state’s capacity to produce clean, renewable energy will only increase.
Moreover, changing to a 16% standard by 2025 will help stabilize electricity rates in our state. As the costs associated with the production of conventional energy continue to climb, an accelerating transition to power drawn from renewable sources combined with increased energy efficiency will help keep our energy bills under control.
1 North Carolina Utilities Commission. "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard."
2 RTI International. (February 2015). Economic and Rate Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina—2015 Update. North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.