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Opinion: Tax breaks may help further clean energy consumption

Tyler Spaugh
Paul Heckert

Tyler SpaughRepresentatives in the North Carolina state legislature have introduced a bill that would repeal mandates requiring North Carolina energy companies to get a minimum amount of their energy needs from renewable sources, according to the Watauga Democrat.

Current state law requires “investor-owned electric utilities” to get at least 12.5 percent of their energy needs from renewable sources by 2021. The intent of the law is to encourage companies to invest more in renewable, or “green,” energy.

Transitioning to cleaner energy should be a long-term goal of any nation, but there are problems with laws such as this one that require the use of green energy.

There are conflicting reports on whether green energy is comparatively cheaper than more traditional energy sources such as coal or petroleum.

But if the state must mandate that energy companies use green energy, green energy must not be the most cost efficient option for energy utilities to use.

Instead of trying to mandate that companies use green energy, we should be trying to reduce the cost of green energy so that companies freely choose to use green energy.

A study by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain found that for every government subsidized green energy job in that country, 2.2 other jobs were lost, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. Spain has been cited by President Barack Obama as an example for us to follow in the area of renewable energy.

Requiring companies to use green energy is effectively a government subsidization of green energy jobs.

Again, the problem is that energy regulations raise energy costs by forcing energy companies to make business decisions that they otherwise would not make due to expenses.

Instead of forcing companies to add new green energy sources, there should be government incentives to make the shift. This way, some businesses may even begin the process of providing green energy before 2021.

Additionally, many power companies such as Blue Ridge Electric have stated that repealing the green energy bill would save consumers money in the long run.

We shouldn’t give up on green energy projects. Making green energy more affordable through incentive programs for green energy use and green energy research would allow for companies to choose cleaner energy without it costing consumers and the company more for their electric needs.

Spaugh, a freshman accounting major from Winston-Salem, is an opinion writer.

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