Major holes found in renewable energy bill | Major holes found in renewable energy bill
But many environmentalists are frustrated that the proposal includes no
penalty for utilities that fail to meet the minimum requirements. At
the same time, the bill caps how much utilities can spend on renewables
and efficiency. About two dozen states have requirements for renewables
and efficiency, and many include penalties, said Molly Diggins, North
Carolina director for the Sierra Club.

Possible changes

said her committee will likely consider a proposal Monday that could
require utilities to go beyond the 12.5 percent minimum requirement
before they are permitted to build new power plants.

also are getting scrutiny. On Thursday, an engineer from the state’s
Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Air
Quality told the energy committee that solar energy is too expensive
for wide-scale deployment and wind power too controversial in the
mountains. The agency said this week that power plants fueled by wood
waste generate more pollution than modern coal-burning power plants.

a result, the committee is likely to consider tightening emission
standards for power plants fueled by wood and animal waste, a move that
could raise the cost of those fuels considerably.

Despite the last-minute push by environmentalists, the utilities say the bill is sound.

are confident that the consensus bill will withstand the scrutiny of
the legislative process,” said Progress Energy spokesman David McNeill.

But Jim Warren, director of Durham-based N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, called it deeply flawed.

“We feel there’s a hundred lawsuits in that bill,” Warren said. “It needs to be overhauled or it needs to be killed.”

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