North Carolina Sets a Requirement for 12.5% Renewable Power by 2021
North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed a bill on August 20th that sets a minimum requirement for the use of renewable energy by the state's electric utilities. The bill requires the investor-owned utilities to draw on renewable energy for 3% of their electricity supply starting in 2012, with the requirement increasing every three years until it reaches 12.5% of the electricity supply in 2021. Electric cooperatives and municipal utilities must also draw on renewable energy for 3% of their electricity supply starting in 2012, with the requirement increasing every three years until it reaches 10% of the electricity supply in 2018. North Carolina is the southernmost state on the East Coast to implement a renewable energy requirement. See the summary map on the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) Web site (PowerPoint 327 KB).
The bill allows credit for the use of solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy sources, as well as hydropower, ocean current energy, and wave energy. It also allows for the use of hydrogen produced from any of these renewable resources. Utilities can buy the power from renewable projects located in or out of the state, or can buy renewable energy credits, although no more than a quarter of the renewable requirement can be met using credits from out of the state. Investor-owned utilities can also meet up to 25% of their renewable energy requirement through energy savings due to energy efficiency measures, and starting in 2021, they can meet 40% of the requirement through energy efficiency measures.
The bill also establishes requirements for the use of certain renewable technologies, an approach known as "set-asides." Specifically, solar energy (including solar thermal energy) must provide the equivalent of 0.02% of the electricity sold by utilities in 2010, increasing to 0.2% by 2018. Electricity produced from swine waste must provide 0.07% of the state's electricity supply in 2012, also increasing to 0.2% by 2018. And electricity produced from poultry waste and bedding material must supply 170 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2012, 700 million kilowatt-hours in 2013, and 900 million kilowatt-hours in 2014 and after. See the summary of the bill on the DSIRE Web site and the full text of the bill (PDF 111 KB). Download Adobe Reader.