A hearing that begins Monday focuses on how to calculate the “avoided costs” – costs utilities would otherwise pay to generate or buy electricity elsewhere – they are required to pay for green energy.
Library filed under Impact on Economy from North Carolina
North Carolina consumers would have saved $4.2 billion since 2007 if mandates on electric power utilities to purchase expensive renewable energy had not driven costs well above the U.S. average, said a nationally recognized energy and environmental policy analyst.
The power company's request is tied to the plummeting cost of natural gas, which is lowering the market price of electricity nationwide. Progress contends that it is now overpaying for the green energy it has to buy under state law, and passing on those inflated costs to its customers, who ultimately bear the financial burden in their monthly bills.
At least two utility companies have declined deals to buy power from Iberdrola Renewables' proposed large-scale wind farm here, potentially derailing the $600 million project. Both companies - Dominion Power and Progress Energy - say the price of the power was simply too high.
A layoff in Lexington appears to contradict President Obama's initiative to generate employment through increased green energy production. Officials blame bad timing for the decision to cut jobs at PPG Industries, a Pittsburgh-based specialty products manufacturer that supplies to the wind energy industry. The company announced Friday that 110 of the 420 employees at its Lexington fiberglass plant will be let go by June 30.
The Blowing Rock Town Council has become the first local government in Northwest North Carolina to ban windmills. The decision by the town, whose economy depends on tourism, comes less than a year after Watauga County became the first county in the state to adopt an ordinance to regulate wind-energy systems. "I think appearance is extremely important in a small town like Blowing Rock," said Town Councilwoman Rita Wiseman. She joined Tuesday's unanimous vote to prohibit wind-energy systems, including residential-scale windmills.