Report examines impact of NC clean energy programs

Feb. 18, 2013 @ 06:54 PM

A report assessing the costs and benefits of North Carolina’s renewable energy investments found that 8.2 million megawatt-hours of energy were saved or generated as a result of clean energy investment in a five-year period.

However, the report also found that the impact the policies on the rates customers pay for energy of is expected to be minor across a 20-year period.

The report was prepared for the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association by the nonprofit research institute RTI International, and Boston-based La Capra Associates Inc., an energy consulting firm.

RTI looked at what the economic compact analysis was of renewable energy and energy efficient investments on the state economy between 2007 and 2012, and the Boston-based firm looked at the impacts on rates.

They found that there was an estimated $1.4 billion invested in clean energy projects across the state between 2007 and 2012, according to a news release about the report, with $72 million invested by the state.

In that period, clean energy investments generated or saved an estimated 8.2 million megawatt-hours of energy through a combination of renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.

Patrick Gibbons, a spokesman for RTI International, said that’s enough to power about 724,000 homes for a year.

The report also found that while rates are expected to be lower than they would have been if the state continued to use conventional generation sources, there is no “appreciable rate impact” to residential, commercial and industrial customer rates through 2026 resulting from the policies.

In 2007, the state put in renewable energy standards in place that require utilities to provide a percentage of their generation from renewable energy and energy efficient sources, including from solar power, as well as from poultry and swine waste.

The state offered a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the project investment value since 2000 for individual and corporate investors, according to the report.

The report also found that state tax credits claimed over the study period are estimated to total $60.2 million, including an estimated $38.6 million that’s forecast by RTI to be claimed on 2012 renewable energy projects.