Late last night the NC House approved an amendment to an otherwise little-discussed regulatory reform bill. The amendment would cap the state's renewable energy portfolio standard and eliminate the 80% property tax break received by solar farms and facilities.
The 2007 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, or REPS, law requires utilities in the state to buy an increasing percentage of renewable power, such as solar or biomass, over time. They were required to buy 3 percent renewable as of 2012, 6 percent in 2015, 10 percent by 2018 and 12.5 percent by 2021. Under changes made later, utilities could claim energy-efficiency savings for up to a quarter of that requirement.
The proposal introduced Wednesday night as an amendment to House Bill 760, a regulatory reform measure, would cap the REPS requirement at 6 percent permanently……The measure would also repeal an 80 percent property tax break that solar farms and facilities currently receive. It would cap the rider utilities could charge ratepayers for their REPS compliance at current levels.
The amendment, introduced by Reps. Mike Hagar and Charles Jeter passed easily by a 97-19 vote. The amendment would also establish a committee to further study the state's renewable portfolio standard and "any other matter related to the long term energy needs of the State" the Committee deems appropriate to study.
Make no mistake, this is a big blow to the Big Solar crony special interests in NC. Without a government-mandated buyer, and without massive tax carve-outs and credits, the solar industry will shatter. It is a completely crony government created industry – forcibly subsidized by ratepayers and taxpayers. Civitas has recently examined the power players and money behind the solar cronies in NC here and here. So called "green" energy is more rightly called "greed" energy; as it is a byproduct of big government and big business in bed together enriching themselves at our expense.