N.C. fails to extend renewable tax credit

Source: By Darren Sweeney, SNL • Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2015

North Carolina lawmakers did not extend the state’s renewable energy tax credit in the budget they passed last week.

The tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year. The Senate made revisions to the budget before it was passed, including cutting out a two-year extension of the renewable energy tax credit. The budget is now awaiting the governor’s approval.

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association had expressed concerns about that possibility before the budget was passed, saying losing the 35 percent investment tax credit would be squandering “one of our state’s greatest economic opportunities of this decade and the next.”

Duke Energy Corp., the state’s largest utility, has stayed largely on the sidelines in the debate. The tax credit has benefited the company in the past and could have helped put North Carolina in fourth place in the nation for installed solar, said Duke Energy spokesman Randy Wheeless.

Now, the decision not to extend it “could have an impact on maybe some smaller developers, where the economics may not work out now versus with the tax credit,” Wheeless said. “But I think from a Duke perspective, you’re going to still see us announcing projects, pursuing projects and buying power from other projects.”

North Carolina’s renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard requires investor-owned utilities to get 12.5 percent of retail electric sales from qualifying sources by 2021. The state needs to build more solar projects to get there, Wheeless said.