Thursday, May 21, 2009

Governor Perdue Announces Reforms to Strengthen Green Economy

May 21, 2009

rnor Bev Perdue today announced her energy reform package to attract businesses, create jobs and promote a strong and sustainable green economy in North Carolina. She made the announcement at the SAS Solar Farm in Cary, which provides solar-generated power to Progress Energy. 

“Developing our green economy is a cornerstone of my vision for North Carolina’s economic future,” Gov. Perdue said. “Creating green jobs and businesses is a key part of my JobsNOW initiative, and the energy reforms I am implementing will lay the foundation for North Carolina to lead the nation in green energy.”

Gov. Perdue’s energy plan refocuses state energy policymaking, makes strategic investments in North Carolina’s green economy and increases green-collar workforce development. 

“The state that gets green right will own the next 50 years,” Gov. Perdue said. “I intend for North Carolina to be that state.”

Governor Perdue’s energy plan:

·         Relocate the State Energy Office and state weatherization program to the Department of Commerce: The weatherization program will be transferred to the State Energy Office from the Department of Health and Human Services. The State Energy Office will be transferred to the Department of Commerce from the Department of Administration, and will be led by a new energy advisor. Establishing the Department of Commerce as the home for state energy policy will improve coordination across programs to deliver these services more efficiently and effectively.

·         Reinvigorate the Energy Policy Council: The plan reduces the number of council members and improves representation for environmental groups, alternative energy producers and energy services specialists. The council will work with the State Energy Office and the energy advisor to help create a comprehensive energy policy that encompasses renewable energy and energy efficiency and that uses existing energy assets wisely.

·         Establish an Energy Investment Revolving Loan Fund: With $18 million in federal recovery monies, this innovative fund will provide low- and no-interest loans to finance energy-saving projects at businesses, local governments, non-profits, state agencies, community colleges, universities and public schools. The loans will be awarded for up to $1 million. The fund will extend the scope of federal recovery funds and will ensure that these funds continue to support the state’s commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency well into the future.

·         Expand the Green Business Fund: $10 million in federal recovery funds will be used to expand the Green Business Fund, which Gov. Perdue led the drive to create in 2007. The fund awards competitive grants to North Carolina businesses and organizations with innovative projects in biofuels, green construction, environmentally friendly technology and renewable energy products.

·         Grow North Carolina’s green workforce: Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative will provide green-collar jobs training and retraining in community colleges. As part of JobsNOW, the governor will use nearly $7 million in federal recovery funds to develop a program in universities, community colleges and workforce agencies that will meet the training and workforce needs of the emerging green economy.

·         Invest federal recovery monies for other energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in small businesses, communities and homes across North Carolina: Other investments using federal recovery funds include $12 million to support energy savings and renewable energy initiatives in small businesses and industries, $58 million for energy and efficiency block grants to cities, counties and tribes, and $12 million for energy efficiency audits and improvements for new and existing homes, among others.

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