My previous column – Energy, Through the Looking Glass – says policymakers can easily slide down rabbit holes of ineffective energy regulation. North Carolina needs to get back above ground.
North Carolina invented a new path to bureaucracy. Lawmakers, the utility, and various customer groups met and created a proposed energy bill. The bill was, “…shaped by Duke Energy, customer and business groups and renewable energy boosters.” (Source)
After it was introduced few of the policymakers and special interests backed the bill. How does that happen? I wouldn’t expect unanimous approval, but the lack of support is bizarre after that amount of work.
It looks like North Carolina policymakers aimed for an everything energy policy; answer all the questions in one bill. Not likely to happen.
“If you can’t get a dinner, get a sandwich, “is what negotiators say. Advice to NC policymakers: Agree on what you can now for the sake of customers. Stop the deadlock.
This may help: Build on the positives of NC energy. I’d argue that NC has done well at fossil reduction. Check the Energy Information Agency graph about power production. It shows carbon-free nuclear and hydro with impressive amounts of power. Build on those and add renewables.
Reconcile this, though: Natural gas has been chastised in the debate. Natgas is a fossil fuel, and one that requires a clear understanding of its role. While used for residential heating and cooking, which could be reduced, it is vital for industry to operate. That is an economic foundation for the state. In my previous blog I said to, “Plan broadly on ‘Infrastructure’” That means natgas infrastructure so industry can employ people, pay taxes, and add to the state’s resources.
North Carolina will continue it debate about energy, and I will keep watching. The lessons of NC, SC, and other states have a lot to teach all consumers about their legislators and how they form our energy security.