North Carolina’s Energy Policy Council has requested the General Assembly re-evaluate the state’s energy policy, including solar power policies, according to Southeast Energy News.
The motion includes language from Duke Energy, which is seeking a re-evaluation of the 80% property tax exemption for new solar projects and of the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), among other changes.
- Duke is concerned about the effect solar power is having on the performance of its conventional generating assets.
Because of solar power, Duke has seen a shift in peak load from summer to winter, leading to its request to re-evaluate the state's solar policies. The company says that while solar generation has reduced summer peak loads, it is not helping to meet winter peak load because winter days are shorter.
Duke is concerned that at the current pace it might have to begin cycling nuclear plants, a costly proposition for a utility.
Last month, the utility has sought changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) that would allow it compete against independent developers for renewable projects and that would reduce the size and contract lengths for projects under PURPA.
Renewable energy developers are once again turning to PURPA, a 1978 law aimed at encouraging renewable energy, because state contracts for renewable projects are becoming harder to secure. That has resulted in court challenges in several states where utilities and developers are once again battling over PURPA’s provisions.