Conservative group ramps up effort to kill state RPS 

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Conservative activists in North Carolina announced a new campaign today aimed at repealing the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

The group Americans for Prosperity revealed it is operating a social media initiative, including an online petition, and a phone-banking operation aimed at encouraging state lawmakers to repeal a law that mandates the investor-owned utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

“At our six field offices across the state, Americans for Prosperity activists are holding phone banks daily and making thousands of calls into their lawmakers’ offices,” North Carolina AFP Director Donald Bryson said in a statement. “We are educating North Carolina ratepayers about the cost of the RPS on jobs and their bill and empowering them to advocate for repealing this broken law through phone calls and emails.”

The group is one of several organizations affiliated with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

State Rep. Chris Millis (R) introduced a measure last week that would sunset the RPS by 2018 and reduce the requirement for renewable sources to 6 percent for the final three years of the program.

But the bill could face an uphill battle in North Carolina, where solar energy production has expanded since the law was adopted eight years ago.

“This bill just sends shock waves to those communities and makes those investors think twice about investing in North Carolina,” North Carolina Sustainable Energy governmental affairs director Betsy McCorkle told the Charlotte Observer last week following the bill’s introduction.

The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature considered a similar measure in 2013, but that bill failed.

According to Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, state legislatures nationwide have considered more than 40 measures to curb or freeze state and local renewable energy standards since 2013.

West Virginia lawmakers succeeded in repealing their state’s renewable energy standard earlier this year — eliminating requirements that the state generate at least 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025 — while similar efforts