- Republicans in the North Carolina House and Senate reached a a budget compromise this week, but it did not include extension of the state's 35% tax credit for renewable energy projects.
- Advocates had pressed for an extension, or an approach calling for a gradual phase-out, but the compromise included neither option in a win for opponents of the credit in the state senate.
- North Carolina's renewable industry has grown significantly in recent years, and there is now 800 MW of renewable power expected to be built by the end of the year.
Renewables advocates had been scrambling to save North Carolina's tax credit, but Democrats say they were largely shut out of negotiations. Bids for a gradual phase-out, which would have allowed some projects completed early next year to qualify for the credit, also failed.
Charlotte Business Journal reports that solar supporters are worried about the move's impact on renewable development. While North Carolina has gone from having no significant solar capacity to just under 1,100 MW in four years, the industry believes nixing the credit could have a chilling effect on business.
Last month solar installers had asked Duke Energy to use its political clout to lobby for extending the credit, but the utility kept its distance and said it took a neutral stance on the debate.
Those in favor of the credit say it is generating significant revenue for the state. For every $1 in tax credits, they say state and local governments are getting more than $1.50 in new tax revenue. Republicans opposed to the credit say doing away with it will save consumers money.
Renewables advocates have another battle to worry about as well: Last week the conservative American Energy Alliance made a late-session push to freeze the state's renewable portfolio standard for utilities, which is set to rise from 6% today to 10% in 2018 and 12.5% in 2021. While general sentiment in the legislature is against freezing the RPS, the Charlotte Business Journal reports that the House Majority Leader remains interested in doing so.
There is no set date for when the North Carolina General Assembly will adjourn for the year, but there's nothing scheduled on the Assembly's legislative calendar after Sep. 22.