Following a conference at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai, Tim Crowley, Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs, NC Department of Commerce, spoke of measures taken by the American state in 2009 to rise to the 10th position in solar, apart from breaking records in other renewable energy businesses.
Which green policies have made it possible for North Carolina (NC) to be ranked as the best business climate for the last 10 years? Governor Perdue led the establishment of the NC Green Business Fund in 2007 when she was the Lieutenant Governor. This initiative helps support innovative green companies working on energy efficiency technologies among others. In addition, a number of campuses in NC’s community college system have customised training programmes designed to get workers prepared for a growing green economy sector.
Employment in the renewables industry increased 22 per cent in 2009 and a 20 per cent growth was anticipated in 2010. What is the status of this initiative and what are the factors that have contributed to such a growth? North Carolina is working aggressively to grow and attract renewable industries and businesses. Through funding from the US American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have directed millions in grants toward supporting the growth of renewable businesses as well as the use of renewable resources. Our green business fund provides critical funding for start-up businesses and our NC Biofuels Centre is developing business models and support for the development of renewable fuels.
In 2009, the state rose in the rankings to 10th place for solar and its contribution is 98 per cent over the last year. In view of India’s solar mission, what would you suggest the country ought to do to ensure such a phenomenal growth?While NC has established itself as an emerging leader in development of solar and other renewable energy (RE) businesses, it still has a long way to go, in terms of achieving our ultimate goals. The state is doing a lot to create a strong business environment for this growth sector. On the corporate level, it has established a 35 per cent RE tax credit, with a maximum of $2.5 million per installation. This encourages businesses to install solar facilities —which also attract the business that manufacture and install these facilities. In addition, the state has a RE equipment manufacturing tax credit of up to 25 per cent. It includes businesses making equipment for passive solar space heat, solar water heat, solar thermal electric, solar thermal process heat, photovoltaics, landfill gas, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal pumps, CHP/cogeneration, solar pool heating, etc.
In terms of offshore wind energy on the Atlantic coast, what policies are in place, what were the issues faced and how were they overcome? Scientific studies have found that North Carolina has some of the best coastal and offshore wind resourced on the east coast of the US. The state is currently working closely with federal government officials and local government agencies to identify both the areas with the best potential wind resources and the rules and procedures need to be in place to effectively take advantage of this resource. On a local and state level, Governor Perdue has been working to ensure that state regulators and rule makers are working closely with local officials so that the best business and land-use policies are in place to help communities both achieve the economic potential in the development of wind energy and also protect the tourism and natural environment that has made the area so attractive.
In addition, the state is working closely with federal officials, who are responsible for determining the disposition and lease of offshore areas for wind energy development. Environmental considerations are critical, not only to protect the coastal tourism industry but also to be sure that our coastal sports and commercial fishing interests are not harmed and kept fully aware of the developments.
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