Polls and Pols Staunchly Defend Clean, Renewable Energy

Today North Carolina took another stand for clean energy – just one day after a national news article reported that states are turning against renewable energy.

A North Carolina legislative committee rejected an attempt to effectively repeal the state’s law requiring its utilities to provide an increasing amount of renewable power like wind and solar to their customers. Ironically it occurred one day after Bloomberg News published an article titled “U.S. States Turn Against Renewable Energy as Gas Plunges.”

North Carolina is one of 29 states with laws, known collectively as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), that aim to grow local clean economies, providing green job opportunities to tens of thousands of Americans across the nation and lifting economically struggling areas with new and enduring sources of revenue.

As the Bloomberg story correctly pointed out, about half of the 29 states with RPS laws currently do, or have had, some form of legislation or administrative-level proceeding with the intent to weaken or repeal the existing standard.

But as of today, North Carolina and at least two other states—Kansas and Arizona—have, with bipartisan support, strongly defended their Renewable Portfolio Standards.

These results are a clear contradiction to the claim that states are rejecting renewable energy. Rather, it’s the fossil-fuel-backed, out-of-state groups like the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that were hoping to get states and utilities to turn their backs on clean energy. (For more information on how ALEC and their backers have done their bidding in North Carolina, see this excellent infographic from the Center for American Progress.) 

But what is truly remarkable about U.S. state-level support for these standards is that, even in these times of supposedly “cheap and abundant natural gas that will last for decades to come” is that renewable energy and efficiency continues to grow--despite continued policy uncertainties at the federal level, and is strongly favored by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

It also shows that just because a legislator introduces a bill to repeal the state’s RPS doesn’t mean that state is moving against renewables. In North Carolina’s case, it in fact failed to get beyond the committee headed up by the bill’s primary sponsor!

 In fact, the recent results from North Carolina, Kansas and Arizona show the bills or potential commission proceedings that have been taken up are being put back down.

And that’s perfectly understandable to the majority of Americans who realize that locally available clean and renewable energy is in fact affordable, providing tens of thousands of new local jobs, while cleaning the air we breathe and combating climate change all at the same time. 

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