In North Carolina, clean energy policies are creating thousands of jobs and costing electricity ratepayers less than they would have paid without these policies, according to a new study from RTI International and La Capra Associates Inc.
The study, an economic analysis focused on the impacts of clean energy policy in the state, was commissioned by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Key policy drivers of clean energy development in North Carolina include the renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard, the renewable energy investment tax credit and the Utility Savings Initiative.
By 2026, North Carolina's switch to clean energy will lead to $173 million in cost savings for electricity customers, according to the study.
In addition, while the broader North Carolina economy lost more than 100,000 jobs from 2007 to 2012, the state experienced a net gain in employment of 21,162 job years from 2007 to 2012 resulting from clean energy development.
Tax credits taken by renewable energy projects developed between 2007 and 2012 generated $1.87 in state or local revenue for every $1.00 of incentive. Since 2007, the North Carolina's clean energy policies have been a net-revenue generator for the state, the study adds.
Between 2007 and 2012, clean energy investment in the state increased 13-fold and generated or saved an estimated 8.2 million MWh of energy through a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by all the households in the cities of Charlotte, Raleigh and Fayetteville for one year. In addition, state government energy efficiency programs saved the government an estimated $427 million of taxpayer money.
From 2007 to 2012, the total economic benefit of clean energy development in North Carolina was $1.7 billion and generated $2.56 billion in associated spending in the state economy. According to the study, rural counties have benefited greatly, including more than $100 million of new clean energy investment in each of three counties – Davidson, Robeson and Person.
‘Some electricity customers in our state may think their electric bills are higher because of our state's clean energy policies,’ says Ivan Urlaub, executive director for NCSEA. ‘In fact, this study finds that if those policies and charges did not exist, all customers' electric bills would be higher, not lower, than they are today. ‘
The full study is available here.