Reducing Energy Risks
Our coalition agrees with the 70% of North Carolina voters who do not want to see electric utilities empowered to make environmentally and financially risky investments while forcing rate payers to foot the bill. More than 80% of North Carolinians support clean, homegrown energy sources, such as solar and offshore wind. Instead of promoting these clean energy sources, which reduce pollution and create jobs, too many legislators remain focused on the dirty energy sources of the past without considering the long-term impacts: high cost nuclear power plants, potentially damaging biofuels, and offshore drilling
In 2007 Duke and Progress Energy were granted the right to force customers to pay in advance for new power plants they call “construction work in progress,” with review and approval from the Utilities Commission. Since 2009, Duke has raised rates every year despite making record profits. Now Duke and Progress are lobbying for an Annual Rate Hikes bill that would give them the power to automatically raise rates years into the future. Duke and Progress want rate payers’ advance payments to go towards projects that the free market won’t support: several nuclear power reactors with estimated costs of around $10 billion each.
Biofuels are currently being discussed by the legislature as a profitable energy alternative. A proposal to allow highly invasive species and application of hog waste at levels that threaten water supplies needs critical review. Banning the use of kudzu-like invasive species for biofuels and finding a reasonable scientific limit for fertilizing with hog waste will allow us to protect our water and environment while developing cheaper and safer alternative sources of energy.
The North Carolina coast supports a $2.5+ billion tourism and travel industry with 40,000 jobs, and a $115+ million commercial and recreational fisheries industry with 27,000 jobs. Opening up our coast to offshore drilling could negatively impact our coastal economy in ways that don’t add up, and continue our reliance on dirty energy.
Investing in energy efficiency and cheaper, less dangerous clean energy sources such as solar and offshore wind means more money and less environmental and financial risk for North Carolinians.