Recent National Emphasis
Focus on providing energy independence, assurance,
and clean energy at a national level dates to the oil
crisis of the early 1970s. However, this focus has
been directed toward specific industries or specific
regulatory guidelines (such as improving automotive
fuel mileage) and less toward aggressive and
widespread financial incentives. Climate change
initiatives began to take hold in some environmental
and political circles in the mid-2000s. Many new
initiatives had been adopted across the country while
many more were ripe for implementation.
At more than $70 billion dollars in spending and tax
credits, the National American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of early 2009 was the
largest federal commitment in the nation’s history for
renewable energy and energy conservation. An initial
total of $3.2 billion was used to invest in the Energy
Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG)
program. Additionally, Federal tax credits, and in
some cases grants, were provided to the private
sector to offset the cost differential between the
renewable energy systems and traditional energy
systems. The Department of Energy and the
Environmental Protection Agency also teamed to
produce an updated national energy efficiency plan
titled “Vision 2025: A Framework for Change” which
was intended to provide states with energy efficiency
and greenhouse gas reduction guidelines.
The combination of financial spending in the public
sector and tax credits in the private sector created a
wave of new activity and new renewable energy
companies. This wave directly impacted both the
public and private sectors from the Federal level, but
also stimulated state governments to adopt more
aggressive policies as well. The driver at all levels was
to make the use of renewable energy more common
and better understood, and in turn make it more
affordable and more in demand.
North Carolina’s
Renewable Energy Market
North Carolina Senate Bill 3 (SB3) was passed into
law in 2008 and established a Renewal Energy
Portfolio Standard (REPS) for North Carolina’s public
utilities that produce electricity for consumer use.
This legislation requires that 12.5% of power
generation come from ‘renewable sources’ by 2020.
It also provides that 75% of the renewable energy
must come from generators that are directly
connected to the NC power grid. SB3 inspired the
market for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that
allow electric utilities to meet their REPS without
having to own or operate the facilities. A REC is a
North Carolina’s Senate Bill 3
In 2008, established Renewable Energy Portfolio
Standard for NC’s public electric utilities
of power generation must come from
renewable sources by 2020
of the renewable energy must come from
generators directly connected to NC’s grid