One of the brighter spots – literally and figuratively – for Nash County’s economy and future broke ground last year near Sandy Cross: A solar farm that is expected to generate enough energy eventually to supply the power needs for 200 homes.
Renewable energy sources aren’t cheap, and they can’t immediately replace the convenience and availability of energy that comes from traditional fossil fuel plants. But they are an important component in the overall energy supply for North Carolina, the United States and the world at large.
That’s why a bill introduced in the N.C. General Assembly that would cut state requirements for power utilities to produce a small portion of the power they sell from renewable fuel sources is short-sighted and a bad idea. N.C. Rep. Mike Hager, R-Caldwell, a former Duke Energy engineer, introduced the legislation. He says energy sources should be weighed and chosen according to cost.
But Hager should realize the energy demands of a developing world are escalating like never before. The United States produces more oil and natural gas than it ever has, yet domestic gasoline prices have stayed between $3.60 and $3.70 per gallon for much of the winter.
That’s due in part because the giant economies of China and India – countries with populations of more than 1 billion people each – are demanding huge amounts of oil, natural gas and coal. More Asians than ever are driving cars. Manufacturing has escalated. No country can afford to turn its back on the development of renewable energy sources for a power-hungry planet.
Gov. Pat McCrory has said he supports exploration of all kinds of energy sources, including renewable alternatives. Here’s hoping that philosophy prevails as other state legislators weigh the pros and cons of Hager’s bill.