On May 28th, Apple, Facebooke, and Google set aside industry differences and co-signed a letter as TechNet opposing House Bill 332, which is seeking out major changes to North Carolina’s current renewable and efficient energy policies.
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is backing the brands’ opposition as it support their long-standing fight for access to clean energy and promotion of renewable energy legislation efforts.
“This is the one such letter where these three companies have banded together on a single issue,” said Allison Eckley, communications coordinator for NCSEA. “This is a genuine corporate response to keeping policies in place that impact jobs.”
Currently, language in House Bill 332 looks to change the availability of clean energy and could possibly freeze out the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) for North Carolina.
Representing hundreds of jobs and several billion dollars’ worth of in-state investments via their data centers, Apple, Facebook, and Google came together to express their opposition of House Bill 332.
“As global companies providing services to consumers around the world from our operations in the state, a reliable, sustainable electricity supply is critical, and requires sourcing power from renewable energy. In fact, the right and ability to access power from renewable resources is not merely a goal, but an expectation,” the letter stated.
Apple, Facebook, and Google represent not only a massive economic impact on North Carolina’s economy but also show that renewable energy can be extremely beneficial for corporations.
“These three companies are already independently supporting the usage of clean energy,” said Eckley. “They’ve banded together to save the REPS laws; [North Carolina’s] clean energy laws are what attracted them to North Carolina in the first place.”
The REPS laws in North Carolina advocate for the availability of clean energy by requiring that at least 12.5% of North Carolina’s energy come from clean and sustainable sources.
“We are concerned the legislation would freeze the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), which provides a steadily increasing baseline of clean energy for the North Carolina grid over time. We believe the REPS should be maintained because our collective experience shows that programs like the REPS can actually reduce the overall cost of energy to ratepayers.
In addition, this legislation would drastically lower the size threshold at which renewable energy projects require contracts that are negotiated with the utilities. This proposed change was previously carefully reviewed by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, and rejected. More importantly, by imposing a size limit that is far below the typical size of utility-scale projects, this change would effectively create a barrier to the development of many new projects, and put a chill on investment.”
While no one brand has stated that they will pull their data centers from North Carolina should the bill pass, Apple, Facebook, and Google represent such a large contribution to North Carolina’s economy that the absence of even just one of the big three would be sorely obvious.
“These companies have an expectation that clean energy will be a part of their business model,” said Eckley. “There’s a long-term value of having clean energy available in the market.”
Apple, Facebook, and Google are speaking not just for themselves and their sustainable brands, but also for the residents of North Carolina, advocating for the right to clean energy and a free market in which residents are able to choose their energy.
As of publish date, Apple, Facebook, and Google had not returned requests for an interview.