Will clean energy make the short list in North Carolina legislature’s short session? – Energy News Network

by | May 31, 2022 | Energy

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North Carolina’s 2022 legislative session is underway, and unlike last year, wide-ranging legislation governing the future of Duke Energy won’t be up for debate. 

But advocates and select lawmakers still hope to see five clean energy-related bills enacted before the legislature’s “short session” is gaveled to a close. 

Compared to last year’s law, which requires Duke to reach near zero carbon pollution by midcentury, the measures are relatively narrow in scope, and most have no organized opposition.  

All are bipartisan and broadly popular in concept — designed to lower utility bills for consumers and state government, expand access to rooftop solar and energy efficiency, and encourage the use of electric vehicles. 

Still, it will take a concerted push to get them on the short list of legislative leaders, who’ve already signaled other priorities and are eager to wrap up business so they can campaign for the midterm elections. That’s especially true in the Senate, where most of the bills are currently lodged.

‘Much more’ would be saved

Perhaps none of the bills is more popular than H245, the Efficient Government Buildings and Savings Act, which would require hundreds of prisons, public universities, and other state-run buildings to make upgrades to cut their energy use by a tenth. 

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According to the Department of Environmental Quality, such building improvements would cost $800 million but save $1.1 billion in energy bills. And since state law allows government agencies to participate in energy performance contracts — in which energy service companies guarantee annual savings to finance and pay for upgrades — taxpayers would see the net benefits in real time. 

H245 is aligned with a climate executive order adopted by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and …

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