North Carolina is known for being a relatively progressive state and leads the South in many policy areas. So why doesn't North Carolina have a renewable energy portfolio standard yet? Twenty other states do. A renewable energy portfolio standard is a state policy that requires electric companies to provide a certain percentage of their power supply from renewable sources. Maine currently requires 30%, New York requires 24% by 2013, and even a red state like Montana requires 15% by 2015.
According to the News & Observer,a bill died in the General Assembly last year that would have required a 10% standard. Instead of pushing North Carolina to the forefront of renewable energy development, Progress Energy argued that they couldn't meet the state's energy needs with renewable energy. Instead, the power companies want to build expensive, new nuclear plants. Nuclear power is certainly clean when it comes to air pollution. But what happens to the radioactive waste when concrete liners leak underground? Why leave behind hazardous waste for future generations to deal with when we could develop clean solar and wind power? Utility officials also argued that it would hurt the NC economy to require a 10% renewable energy standard. Twenty other states would apparently disagree.