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Joint | September 10, 2015 | Press Room | Press Conference: Rep. Harrison

Full MP3 Audio File

Good Morning, thank You all for coming. I'm Rachael Moralis, with the Environment North Carolina the State based Environmental Agency Group I'm joined here today by Representative and if Harrison, Representative Perter, Representative Ray as well as Capstone Grader, Project Manager of Carolina Solar energy. I will first reveal the key findings of the report, then I'll turn over to our speakers to make a statements when they are done few other of the Representatives who like to make a statement and then will take time for questions. We are here today to release the lighting the way. A refer that works at the wings state for solar energy and the nation and the state policies that has got them there. Our message today is clear put a little bit of sunshine and a lot of good clean energy policies on the book, North Carolina is lighting the way on solar. In fact for the second year consecutively North Carolina has been ranked fourth Nationally in overall select capacity. And it's not surprise why. Thanks to careful thought of and planning, our leaders have had the stage for North Carolina to become a leader in clean energy. Specifically the States' renewable energy portfolio standard and the renewable energy tax credit, have set the stage for solar businesses like Carolina Solar Energy to sore and need our energy in away that it's clean and efficient. And this policies are actively attracting investment to our safe. Just last moth President Obama announced $2.9 million in investment project Semprius Solar. A firm, right here in Durham are working to creating an even more energy efficient Solar panel. Unfortunately, this policies are under attack State house of Representatives has already passed the bill 760 essentially freezing the State's renewable energy portfolio standards and attempts to extend the renewable energy tax credits have been stopped at the budget. We know that strong public policies at the local state and thorough level are necessary for North Carolina to achieve its true solar potential. Instead of undoing these policies that are working we want to see our leaders charge ahead and strengthen these policies and make it even easier for every North Carolinian to make solar panels on their homes, business and farm. Thank you very much. Senator Harrison thanks. Pricey Harrison Representing Guilford County in the legislature, and in addition to Representative Jeters and Wray I'm also joined by from Representative Fisher and Garland Pierce, and Representative Insko in the back all of whom represent districts with significant solar investments and I wanted to North Carolina has become a national leader in clean energy technology and it's largely as a result of Senate Bill three which I was proud to be a sponsor having along with my colleagues in the back and I want to remind folks that it passed with only 8 no votes, actually 10 no votes, 9 in the House and 1 in the Senate and it was embraced with wide bipartisan support, I think the opposition was from [xx] wanted actually a strong nerve renewable energy standard. So I did want to put that in context. We have nearly 23, 000 jobs in North Carolina in the clean energy sector, these jobs investments and new revenues are at stake right now as the House and the Senate debate budget provisions which include the extension of the renewable energy tax credit, and this upper provision that might freeze our renewable energy portfolio standard. Clean energy is economic success story in our state, the data and the facts prove it, it's not a football to be spiked in the legislative building. This new approach shows North Carolina has made tremendous progress in clean energy, technology, in a clean energy economy, and there's still room to growth that we become more like our fellow states of Arizona and New Jersey, though we made significant progress and it's not the time to cut it off and I just want it as point, so I'll turn it over to Representative Peter thank you so much Representative Harrison. Shall we, we certainly are, it's interesting, I think it's a bipartisan event although it's less bipartisan right now, this ought to help me in my budget negotiations I'll say this we talk about, one of the things I think we've done well in this building over last four years is we've looked at policy instead of doing it at patch work, we've looked at its all incompetency model. You look at what we did with tax reform, look at what we did unemployment in what we are doing medicate reform. We've taken a complicated issue with lots of pieces to it and try to really look at the whole scope. And that's what I think we need to do with Energy policy is I think to some degree look at senate bill 3 from 2007 which Representative Harrison mention and that is a pieces of the puzzle. But third party sail that meter and all other things coming to play have to be considered. And I think that we talk about political football [xx] I remind everybody renewable energy energy tax credits is in the House budget that we passed with 61 Republican votes and I think 96 overall votes. If I told Job that the House was going to pass the budget with 96 votes this year I

think everybody would have laughed at me, which I'm accustomed to. So I think this report shows a lot about what is positive renewable energy, solar in particular but you know swines and poultry is coming along well and I think we have to look at those things, but we talked about the freezing and the Reps which I was the negotiator on part of that in the House discussions that we passed. You got to remember though that it was a cumulative effort, it was a lot different than what was done at the original regulatory reform bill and some other issues, and it was a true compromise, and I think the House deserves tremendous amount of credit for the way we've handled this and I'm excited about their support, I'm excited about jobs, and I think we loose sight of people and numbers. We had an event over the Natural Science Museum, History Museum, the one on the right. I forget, I think it's Science Museum. Where we had show up everyone is packed those are people that have been working for years not days not job years or whatever call those are real jobs that are happening for long term. They're putting people to work, they're helping our middle class and our communities grow, and I think we have to be mindful of the people and not so get caught off in just numbers. We also I think have a bad job in politics in general in using nomenclature inappropriately. We talk about mandates, we talk about subsidies, we talk about all these other things. A polio vaccine is a mandate anybody here think that's a bad idea? I'm going to take that as a no. So we have to understand that just because it's a mandate, just because it's a subsidy, just because it's credit doesn't mean it's bad. We have to take everything for its business case and make sure it makes sense, and Senate bill 2003 we also have to remember the other side of senate bill 2003 which is, I'm sorry, Senate Bill 3, thank you, from 2007. It's early I haven't had coffee yet. I know, I'm confused a lot. included a lot of things from the other side of the coin, construction work in progress. All these other things that were included. The reason you only had nine votes because it was really a truly combination effort. So if we're going to eliminate part of Senate Bill 3 from 2007 then I think you have to look at the entire process because there was a lot of things we gave to the other side of the coin that no one is talking about doing mode of that quarter, and a compromise undone has to be a compromise to revisit it, and for that part I'm proud to be associated with this issue, I'm proud to be associated with this group and I'm proud to be associated with my colleagues although Representative Pierce would love some gift. So with that I'm going to pass off for my good friend Michael Wray, Representative Wray and he's going to continue on the discussion. Thank you Representative Jeter. My name is Michael Wray, I represent Halifax, Northampton Counties which is about an hour and a half North East of Raleigh. and both the counties I represent are tier one counties are ranked by Department of Commerce as some of the most economic stress [xx] state. Since I was elected in 2004, one of my top plot has been creating a new economic development opportunities and jobs in North East or North Carolina. And in the last several years renewable energy projects like solar, hard delivering much needed investment job, business opportunities and new tax revenues try our luck in state government for example the community and how in Ohama county is like number two in the state and the tax on value for real estate. In mt take apparently five large scale solar projects that are valued at nearly 530 million dollars. This projects employed 100 of workers doing construction on project known as [xx] tax payer in our county but in the next 15 or 20 years some of them are up to 30 years. These are our new tax revenues for our local communities and governments therefore need to pay for vital services like schools, roads, police and water and sewage. As a main member of the Main Street Democrats We believe very that we must keep our existing clean energy policies in place otherwise our rural communities will suffer even more, and our so I had many of our mainstream democrats like myself, hope to be able to vote for the final budget, conferences report that may come out next week, for the inclusion of the renewable and energy investment tax credit extension is a top priority for us, and we convey this to the Speaker more and open negotiators. Thank you. Good Morning?

I'm Carsen[sp?] creator, I work at Carolina Solar Energy in Durham. We're a five person company, we've been developing solar farms in North Carolina since 2004. I want to thank Environment North Carolina and I'm also, many are both Democrats and Republican representatives and senators that have supported our work in North Carolina especially Representative Jeter, Representative Szoka, Representative Saine, Senator Tillman, and Senator Brent Jackson. I'd like to share a story about what our company, our success story in North Carolina, and also two points about solar energy and renewable energy. The story is about a project I'm currently working on in Eastern North Carolina, it's in a tier two county. This is a large project, the county currently receives $3800 per year in tax revenues on parcels that would make up the solar farm, and those are all set partially due to agricultural use. Once the solar farm is installed we are calculating that the solar farm will pay additional taxes into the county moving their tax revenue annually from $3, 800 on these parcels to $170, 000 per year. This local town that the project is near is considering annexing the property, I wish I would say doesn't always work for every project certainly but in this case that would add additional tax revenue to the town that currently receives nothing from this property to $125, 000 per year the town currently has revenues of $500, 000 per year. And it's a small town that's got businesses that have gone out of business on main street and you can just imagine what this one solar farm can do in this county and this town with those additional revenues. And that's why without requiring any new roads or services or schools or other infrastructure investment by the town or the county, and example is just one project this influx of tax pays from solar is happening all across the state its going into a more struggling counties that has been mentioned before, that are not seeing a lot of other types of economic development coming in. Additionally of course there is the benefit from the jobs that are created an additional income that is going to land owners who mostly spend it in their local communities, so solar energy has been a major economic driver for our state in that something that we are very, very proud of. I also wanted to share two quick points about solar, the first is that RTI international which is a consulting company that performs reports legislature did a study that found that our energy portfolio standard will bring power rates down in North Carolina, not up over time. You can find the study online and once you install a solar panel, it sits in the ground and collects energy for 30 to 40 years and it doesn't need a lot of additional cost, or maintenance, or investment, versus other forms of energy that require fuel and ongoing maintenance. So this is how renewable energy helps keep our power bill lower over time, and the reason our power bills are going up right now is due to utility investment in major infrastructure projects not renewable energy, and I want to be really clear about that because that's very important. The second point is that over $2.5 billion was invested in clean energy development in North Carolina between 2007 and 2013, and that information is in another RTI international report that you can find online. This 2.5 billion investment was supported and passed by the same government at an estimated cost of $135 million so the investment that's come is more than 20 times the state incentives. I just want to echo everyone's point. Solar and clean energy is the major economic driver in North Carolina and we thank environment North Carolina for their report and we thank all the senators and congressman for representatives from both parties that are supporting us in helping keep this going, thank you. state [xx] right there if you get through Scotland, Scotland High School is a championship football team right there at the Scotland high school, Pascallen has there are wanted destruction going on right there and I can't save the areas I represent particular Robeson and Scotland particular. They have really benefited a lot of many farms, a lot of farm land was so it's really helped the local economy to the farmers and I see [xx] every time I travel through that part of the state I represent those areas so I see the impact of solar energy is headed in our areas, if you have any negative about it in my area, so if its a positive economic clean up, is really working way up for

our county so we just thank you for this new, as Michael talked about his jobs, and accept the low key firms I'm just thankful for the continued work on this organization, thank you. So I guess we can take any questions. Question for representative Jeter, there's a rumor going round that the house has agreed to give up the renewable energy tax credit in the budget negotiations can you speak to that was discussed in public congress? I certainly not going to speak to anything that we discussed in public congress meetings. I don't want to give anything up in the budget negotiations but I find memos in this building typically are just that rumors and have been little ambitious in fact. I guess the bottom line is still it costs taxpayers money to provide these I think it was about $125 million in credit last year, the calendar year. That's a significant amount of money, how would you talk to your colleagues probably on the house of Republicans side that's a good use of tax payer dollars? Well, I think one of the things we're going to look at is how we get off depends on foreign oil? What is our country stand on war trying to protect the oil ever since? Let's see a global picture not just think locally. I'm not arguing and I'm not here to say that we've Hennessy of solutions for the future. I'm saying we need to look at energy policy in this state, in this country at the total level and renewable energy is part of hat equation and I think to throw it, throw it out, out of hand, look at the price of pok for Kilowatt hour from solar in 2007 to what it is today. This is a process that has worked and no one suggested, I don't think on either side, that these some of this tax creditors extend for ever improper to it. The house did a safe harbour act, we passed the two year extension in the budget. I think those are things we are looking at when you talk about swine and poultry. I mean, the reality is that technology is a little bit behind when it comes to swine and poultry-wise. I think that we have to look at energy policy in this state as we have with other major issues in common with a good totally encompassing solution, and renewable energy is part of that equation, part of discussion and deserves to see at the table. What is the we got all those people work, what is done for the local communities like Scott county out there by Starton High school they might get Princolon Pus just spoke about. I'm not suggesting there's not a cost what I'm suggesting is and what I'm saying is the benefit is greater than the cost. Those are like fitting in a little while back and I think people rout it that kind of left with the question what we do with the solar panels after exhausted or damaged or longer able being commissioned do you have any updated thoughts about what they should do to position themselves? Well there are a couple of responses one we are just in the beginning of life cycle of this all panel, so we've got a couple of decades to figure that one out. So the other thing is we probably don't want to eliminate electronic recycling program which is been proposed by the senate because that would be a mechanism to deal with those are I think the two main concerns I don't know if you want to respond to that. There has been some concern about the disposal of solar panels. Besides that. [xx] I think the question was that there were couple hundred million pounds of solar panels in commission today and they have a life of 30 to 40 years and it's relevantly not a terribly long region in the future or we might have a new massive solar ways to do it. I believe there's a pretty viable economic there's a good reason for businesses to want to buy back this panels and recycle these materials. It makes sense for them economically. Toxic material so it is [xx] Can you define the 20, 000 jobs in clean energy sector, how many of those are actually full time, year round employees at solar at least how many are in the unsalaried  businesses what that jobs are, are we talking about job [xx] We are talking, I cannot specifically answer what percentage of those 19, 000 jobs are in secondary industries or maybe. That's [xx] study.

  And I believe it's strictly jobs are created by related clean energy, it's not the answer jobs at all but I don't know the breakdown between and wind or biomass. It's pretty strict that criteria. It has been conducted every year since we enacted our renewable energy standard where I think back in 2007, it was 2, 500 jobs.