Raleigh, N.C. – Legislation proposing balanced and comprehensive reform to North Carolina’s energy policies was approved in a bipartisan 108-11 vote of the state House on Wednesday.
House Bill 589 Competitive Energy Solutions for NC installs a market-driven approach to renewable energy production in North Carolina through a competitive bidding process designed to lower costs for ratepayers and ensure the state continues to develop affordable, diverse and reliable sources of energy.
House Speaker Tim Moore made a rare floor speech in support of the bill:
“Energy bills and policies have been a problem for the House and Senate to get our hands around,” Moore said on the House floor. “It is complicated. It is an issue with strong arguments. It’s taken a lot of time.”
“A little over a year ago, we asked a few folks to get stakeholders who know these things together to try to work on this issue, the North Carolina way,” Moore continued. “I wanted us to find reasonable solutions and to see what other states have done.”
“North Carolina is a leader, not only on energy, but as an economy in this nation. And that’s not an accident. So we wanted to get people together to work out those differences. That’s exactly what this bill does.”
“It’s taken a lot of input. It’s taken buy-in from a lot of stakeholders, and you have a bill before you today that represents a true compromise.”
“This bill is good for North Carolina, it’s good for ratepayers, it’s good for our economy. Friends, I hope you’ll vote for this bill today.”
House Bill 589 allows private parties to access a competitive market for renewable energy installation, encourages the development of rooftop renewable energy projects through third-party leasing and allows consumers to access and invest in community solar projects not permitted under current law.
Bill sponsor Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) said the bill was necessary to lower costs for residential and commercial energy customers, arguing it would benefit North Carolina’s ratepayers with a balanced, free-market approach that expands access to diverse sources of energy while controlling costs through competitive pricing:
“This bill makes a fundamental shift in North Carolina’s energy policy, saving ratepayers by putting renewable projects up for competitive bidding,” Arp said. “It uses the powerful free-market process for renewable energy and provides public utilities input where and how to best locate facilities to maintain grid reliability.”
H.B. 589 encourages innovation of renewable energy technology by requiring providers to compete for lower prices and more favorable siting locations when they connect to North Carolina’s power grid.
Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland) said the comprehensive Competitive Energy Solutions bill keeps North Carolina in control of its own energy future with forward-thinking power policies that ensure affordable rates and diverse sources of increasingly-efficient technology:
“I believe the compromises in this process have led to a very good and balanced bill,” Szoka said on the floor. “This bill is a major step for our state.”