A bright candle in an otherwise dark room:
We led the nation in clean energy and clean transportation jobs in the 4th quarter of 2012, and came in second only to California for the year as a whole. The 10,800 new clean energy & transportation jobs E2 tracked here in 2012 are some of the more than 21,000 clean energy & transportation jobs that have sprung up across the state in the last five years. These are good-paying jobs in fields like public transportation, solar and wind farms, electric vehicle charging stations, and solar and wind power manufacturing.
These jobs didn't just magically appear. It took cooperation and vision and hard work, with a constant eye towards the future. Unfortunately, there are some who would ignore such evidence and take us back in time:
But much of that progress is threatened by legislation that Rep. Mike Hager, chair of the Public Utilities Committee, promises to introduce soon in the state legislature. Hager is a member of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a fossil-fuel-industry-backed organization of conservative state legislators who are attempting to overturn or weaken state renewable energy standards nationwide. Hager’s proposed legislation would halt further implementation of North Carolina’s law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2007. It requires utilities to get 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources—much of it generated in-state—and energy efficiency by 2021.
North Carolinians support the law by large margins; 70 percent called it a “good idea” in a recent poll, while only 17 percent opposed it. What will this mean for us if Hager and ALEC succeed? Without the standard we will have:
• Increased energy costs: A new study out by two leading national research institutes finds energy-efficiency measures supported by the law have already reduced ratepayer costs and, by 2026, will cut spending on electricity by $173 million.
• Declining tax revenue: Since 2007, renewable energy projects have contributed $113 million to local and state coffers, helping to fund vital public services like education and public safety. Without this tax revenue, services will likely be cut.
• Increased state and local government spending on energy: To date, energy efficiency programs incentivized by the renewable energy standard have saved government an estimated $427 million. These incentives allow government to spend less on energy waste and more on programs we North Carolinians need.
Here's a little common sense for the NCGA and the Governor: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'd say running neck and neck for first place in job creation out of fifty states is pretty good evidence that it ain't broke.